When one thinks of Costco, one often conjures up images of party packs of Pizzas, insanely huge cakes, and industrial-size bags of cheetos.  But can Costco be a healthy, even Organic and Thrifty place to shop?

I am fortunate to live within walking distance to Costco, which allows me to limit my spending on large items.  I go weekly to Costco and pick up the items that our family eats on a regular basis and it ends up being a very thrifty place for me to shop.  The advantages to shopping at Costco are that Costco does strive to carry local products, and they are improving their selection of quality food offerings.

The downside to Costco is that you do have to pay an annual membership fee, the crowds are often unbearable, and the produce is not locally grown.

In my practice, I give my clients my “Nourishing Shopping Guide” with a breakdown of where to get the best deals on organic (or sustainably produced) foods.  This is the first in a series of posts I will share about the best deals I have found in local stores around the Portland, Oregon metro area.  I hope you find this applicable and helpful to your area as well!  Please note that in some cases, prices will vary!  These are my local prices!

Maranatha Almond Butter Locally produced in Ashland, Oregon, this naturally roasted almond butter is a great price for 16 oz at just over $5.00.

Organic, frozen green beans $5.45 This is a large, 5# bag of tender, french cut green beans. These cook up fast in the steamer or in a stir-fry, and make for an ultra-healthy dinner when paired with a quality protein.  I send a large pyrex full of frozen green beans topped with shredded Parmesan cheese with my husband to work many days and he loves this veggie-rich, delicious meal!

Organic, frozen green peas $5.29 This is another large, 5# bag (I believe!) that provides many meals for our family. We enjoy steamed peas with tiny pieces of turkey bacon as a delicious breakfast.  We also love steamed peas with melted butter and cheese as a delicious alternative to mac and cheese!

Organic, grass-fed beef Honestly, I’m not sure at the price per pound on this, but I think it’s around $3.99.  I am not aware as to whether or not this is grass-fed, or rather grass-finished beef, but certainly a step up from conventional beef!

New Zealand Lamb The prices vary here based on cuts. They offer a boneless leg of lamb, lamb chops, and french ribs.  The boneless leg of lamb is the best value, and for about $20 you can buy a boneless leg, roast it with some Dijon mustard and a bit of honey and garlic in the slow cooker, and easily have 4 meals for a family of 4 to stretch a week. 

Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese (grass-fed) $9.00 I know this looks expensive, but it’s a 2 # brick of delicious, nutrient-dense cheese. A great source of vitamins A and D, you don’t need much of these amazing cheese to satisfy you.  This brick of cheese lasts a long time if used sparingly as a flavor enhancer of a large veggie dish.  Great topper for steamed broccoli and cauliflower! Also a wonderful snack with some celery!

Organic, Free-Range Eggs  18 for $4.45 I don’t know about you, but this is a fantastic deal on organic free-range eggs in my book! Other than having my own chicken farm, that is!  I am not sure if these are really pastured or not, so these are certainly not my first choice, but they are a great buy if you’re looking for organic!

Organic carrots $4.99 I believe I’m right on the price here for a 10# bag. These are great for roasting or steaming up.  A very cheap, delicous veggie that is very versatile. I also like to shred these and mix with other veggies in a Chinese-inspired stir-fry.

Cut Broccoli $3.99 I believe this is a 2 or 3# bag. Since Broccoli has been shown to not contain pesticide residues and is rarely sprayed, I can buy conventional broccoli with a fairly clean conscience.  This makes serving fresh broccoli ultra simple. I just throw everything in my Electric Steamer and in 10-12 minutes I have cooked broccoli! 

Brussels Sprouts $4.49 I think this also comes in a 2# bag. These delicious nuggets of nutrition need only be sliced in half and thrown in the steamer and topped with melted butter, garlic, and shredded cheese for a delicious take on this once-unpopular vegetable.  We can easily get 2 or 3 meals out of this bag of sprouts as they are very filling and nourishing.  We call them “turtles” in our house!

Bolthouse Farms Organic Carrot Juice 3 Pack for $6.99 We go through 1 bottle of carrot juice a day in this household as we all drink about 5-10 oz. of carrot juice per day. Obviously if we had a juicer we could probably get our carrot juice cheaper, but I’ve chosen to simply buy 2 of these 3-packs per week. I serve it to the kids every morning in place of “orange juice”. It ensures a great dose of veggies with breakfast as well!

Organic Baby Spinach (fresh) $3.99 This Earthbound Farms classic is a must-buy organic, as spinach retains lots of pesticides and is very dirty if not organic.  These tender leaves are great sauteed into scrambled eggs or one of Kirsten’s Mini-Quiches!  Or just saute up a mound of these leaves with chopped, nitrate-free sausages for a quick meal!

Aidell’s nitrate-free sausages $12.00 for 12 Okay, so these are not the thriftiest looking, but if you use them correctly you can really make them stretch. I love using them in soups, or sliced and sauteed together with organic green beans or other veggies.  When you slice them up you can make 2 sausages stretch for 4 people easily. 
(There are several good brands of such sausages there!)

Greens to Go (in supplement section) Again, not sure on the cost here, but this is a nice little supplement that my kids (and others I know) really enjoy.  No sugar at all, only dehydrated green veggies including kale, broccoli, and wheat and barley grass.  Mix with water (or a bit of carrot juice and water) and you have 6 servings of veggies in one glass.  Obviously freshly cooked veggies are best, but these are great in a pinch and certainly better than juice.

Jenny-O nitrate-free turkey bacon Again, drawing a blank on the price here, but it’s nice to see that they finally have nitrate-free bacon!  We have transitioned pork products out of our diet, so we are enjoying turkey bacon again.  It’s great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! We like it chopped up with beans or peas.

Wild Alaskan Salmon 6 pack for $10.59, which is a great deal for wild salmon that tastes really delicious.  We love this mixed with a little yogurt and flax or olive oil and seasonings.  An awesome source of omega-3′s and a quick protein meal!

Fage rBST Free Greek Yogurt $5.79 for 1 Quart.  I felt that this was a good deal, since this is such a dense yogurt. One only needs a few scoops to pack in high amounts of protein. This is strained non fat yogurt, unfortuately, though. I sometimes buy it purely for the protein content, and it’s fine for slow oxidizers, but I keep waiting for our Costco to carry a good quality plain full fat organic yogurt.

Organic Butter, Kirkland Brand, 2 pack For around $5 you can get a two pack of organic butter, which we like well enoguh. We prefer Kerrygold all around, but the Organic Butter is great too!

These are a few of my favorite things.  I will likely add more as find more items I love to buy. But as you can see, I keep it pretty simple and fresh, and since we do very low grains I don’t actually take advantage of the other great deals like Organic Lundburg Rice and Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats.  I know there are other great deals at Costco.

What are your favorite Costco Deals?

 

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16 Responses to “Organic Thrifty Shops Costco”

  1. Lisa Imerman Identicon Icon Lisa Imerman says:

    I love Costco too. Here in SE MI there are a few other things I get, I thought I would share. I do buy the lamb at Costco, very good. They also have frozen Wild Caught frozen Fish (usually Salmon and cod) at a good price. Be careful of the frozen vegetables, as some of the ones they carry are imported from China (I won’t buy food and definitely not organic from china). I also get Kerrygold Butter there and it is the best price I have found for it. I get a local butter most times but if I can’t get my local butter I get the Kerrygold from Costco. I also like the Kirkland Signature brand of organic peanut butter. They also have bags of Organic Quinoa that I get as being gluten free it is a great grain. I also buy organic brown rice in the large bags at costco.

    Lisa

  2. I have been shopping at Costco for years – I specifically go to mine for the organic stuff. You just can’t beat the prices on their organic frozen fruit and vegetables, plus mine sells a HUGE tub of organic baby greens for $3.98, when the same size tub at my local grocery store would cost double that! I also love all the artisan, specialty cheeses that mine gets in on a regular basis.

    The prices are absolute steals. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised with the amount of organic products that they carry and they’re adding new stuff all the time! The one annoying thing is how the inventory varies so much from Costco to Costco in the Denver metro area. I shop at a different location than my mom and we’re always comparing notes on our location’s inventory. Many times, her location doesn’t carry the same stuff as mine and vice versa. But, thankfully, I am smack dab in the middle of two locations, so I can get a variety of stuff if I so desire.

    I am an organic food blogger as well – would you mind if I did a similar writeup on my blog about my local Costco? I don’t think many people realize the quality of food that Costco carries.

  3. Kim Knoch Identicon Icon Kim Knoch says:

    Great post, especially since I’m in the Portland metro area too! :) I have been buying the frozen veggies and the butter but had not seen many of the other things… now I will definitely seek them out.

    I like your tip of walking there to limit your spending. :) My technique (since I have to drive) is to NOT get a cart. Doesn’t work for every trip but does prevent some impulse shopping.

  4. Betsy Identicon Icon Betsy says:

    Our Costco does carry the Kerrygold butter but only in the spring. Not sure if it’s the spring season or St. Patricks Day they’re celebrating, but I sure took advantage and stocked up. It was a box of 3 half-pound bricks for I think about $8. The grocery store sells it for $4-5 per brick, so a good deal.

  5. Heather Identicon Icon Heather says:

    Organic extra virgin olive oil 1-litre ~$13!

  6. Nice info. Thanks for this.

  7. Between me and my huband we’ve really saved a great deal of money recently using sites like yours to find deals and information. It’s blogs like yours that we’ve come to value for vital information during these tough time. Thank you so much for all the great research you put into this site.

  8. Cathy Identicon Icon Cathy says:

    This is a very helpful list. Thanks.

  9. Jamie Identicon Icon Jamie says:

    My husband works at Costco and I would like to add that this is a company that pays a living wage and provides excellent benefits. They care about their employees. The BEST buy at my Costco is Pacific Natural Food’s Free Range Chicken Broth. It is $9.99 for 6 – 32 fl oz boxes. One box alone costs about $3.50 at a local grocery store. I prefer homemade broth but I like to have this on hand for those busy times.

  10. carrie Identicon Icon carrie says:

    @Jessica,

    I find the same thing to be true here in Portland! It’s funny when I recommend some great things at Costco and a friend goes to the Tigard location and can’t find what I recommended! So yes, I guess I should add that all of these items are at the Aloha Costco!!!

    Yes, please do a similar write-up on Delicious Obsessions! Let me know when it’s up!!!

  11. carrie Identicon Icon carrie says:

    @Lisa,

    Great point about the organics from China. Do you know if Bybee Farms are from China?

    Great point about the Quinoa!!! I was so excited to see that too. The Organic Peanut Butter is a great price too; you get a two-pack for about $6.00 or so.

    Thanks!

  12. carrie Identicon Icon carrie says:

    @Betsy,

    That’s awesome! I keep looking for it!!! But you’re right, some of their items are seasonal and they do keep changing so you do have to keep looking!

  13. carrie Identicon Icon carrie says:

    @Jamie,

    That’s so true! I’ve noticed that my local Costco employees all seem to be very happy, and they have worked there for years, so I figured itw as a great place to work! Good to know. Yes, the chicken broth is a great deal, and it is nice to have those for busy times, I agree!

    Thanks for the feedback!

  14. Awesome, Carrie! I just might have to get a membership now!

  15. carrie Identicon Icon carrie says:

    @Katie,

    Yes, it’s well worth it. And you’re so close to one now too!

    Love,
    Carrie

  16. Thanks Carrie! I’ve been thinking about renewing our membership — even though we live further away I think the savings might be worth it!

 
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