Fall is upon us. While this period can be bittersweet as we say "till next time to summer" there is still time to enjoy many outdoor adventures AND take advantage of a number of delicious money saving opportunities in our own neighborhood! Something referred to as the "Neighborhood Harvest."
It may come as no surprise the several fruit bearing trees scattered among your own neighborhoods go largely unharvested. The produce gets consumed by dumpsters as opposed to people. I have found many times my own neighbors see these trees a a nuisance, something they have to pick up the fermenting remnants off their lawns before a bear (yes, we have lots of bears here) comes in search. Here is where you can be a good neighbor, help your home out, and have a bit of family fun. In my journey to shore up my bottom line of spending, learning to take advantage of ways to reduce grocery costs has led to HUGE savings each month.
For us in Montana, apples are abundant. With the average cost of apples at around $1.25 (during the harvest season). This is a perfect opportunity to pick, bake, juice and freeze your way to saving money. Our neighbors are more than happy to lets up grab these little bundles of coin from their tree.
While these apples are certainly not the visually pristine version you may be used to seeing in the store shelf, it will not make a difference once you peel, chop, and juice them up. Not to mention there is a certain degree of pride in seeing these from the tree to your plates.
Here are some quick calculations. We typically will pick about 40-50 lbs of apples that we can do something with or give away the final product for friends or family. These will end up becoming apples crisp, cider, cookies, oatmeal topping, and upside down pancakes. Many of these can be packed and taken with to outings and hikes.
Just in apples that is $50-$62.50 + some priceless family time. My daughter loves to pick and peal apples and Mrs. AMO is a very talented baker. There are a bunch of apple peelers which are kid friendly @ Wal-mart/Amazon and the like.
Depending on what type of trees you have access to (Pears at about $1.50. a lbs) this annual fall ritual can be even more profitable!