Crazy For Costco

March 29, 2010 at 12:38 am 54 comments

We LOVE Costco. We are very sad when there is no Costco nearby…because we do the bulk of our shopping there. If you eat a diet that is high in fruits and veggies, Costco should be a very close friend.Β  No, not everything is organic…but several things are, and they are adding more all the time. I wish we could eat a 100% organic diet…our budget would be through the roof! I do try to focus on the items I know to be very high in pesticides that we eat on a daily basis, like spinach and apples. Items like avocados and broccoli are not heavily sprayed crops, so I’m not as concerned. For more info on the “dirty dozen”, click here.

Here are a few of the items we buy there:

  • Organic spinach (1 lb): This is the number one “best buy” for us at Costco. It ranges in price from $2.99 – $3.99….which is a far cry from $6.99-$7.99 at Whole Foods.
  • Romaine lettuce: Who can beat that deal? 6 pack for $2.99. They are the BEST. Perfect for salads and juicing.
  • Avocados: Costco has the best. Hands down. The biggest, creamiest, yummiest…at a good price.
  • Watermelon: Oooooh, just typing that word makes me happy. We LIVE on these in the summer…and Costco has consistently provided me with yummy, red, and juicy specimens. It’s pretty rare that I get a bad one, but if I do, they have a 100% guarantee on everything they sell. I’m thinking of calling up the local produce manager and finding out when they are going to be stocking these so I can be camped outside their door in my tent that morning.
  • Broccoli/Brussels/Asparagus: Yum.
  • Medjool dates: Again, best quality I’ve found…but WAY cheaper than other places.
  • Apples: Not all Costcos have organic apples, but when we find them, we stock up. Their organic red delicious variety is 89 cents per pound right now at the Austin, TX location.
  • Blueberries/Strawberries/Raspberries: We buy blueberries on a regular basis and the others once in a while.
  • Oranges: We buy the 25 for $8.99.
  • Grape tomatoes – “Cherubs”: These are pesticide-free and delicious.
  • Bananas: $1.29 per bunch.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pine nuts. These are priced VERY competitively. This is the only place I will buy nuts.
  • Pineapples: Not too much cheaper, but they are always big and ripe.
  • Frozen fruit: Their Spectrum Blend is my favorite smoothie mix….you get double the amount that you can get anywhere else for the same price.
  • Pure maple syrup: Great price/large container.
  • Organic corn chips: Big cheap bag.
  • Bread: Organic and/or whole wheat. 2 loaves for $5.99 or so. They also have bakery loaves of crusty bread for soup, etc.
  • Silk soy milk: If you drink soy milk, it’s a great buy. You can get a 3 pack of 1/2 gallons for $5.99.
  • Organic bean/cheese frozen burritos: Matt and Bella love these. Much cheaper than buying individually.
  • Other items we occasionally buy: Organic quiche, frozen OJ, Starbucks coffee…I know I’m forgetting other stuff.

What are your Costco favorites?


Entry filed under: Costco, Frugal Eating, Fruits and Veggies.

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54 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sarah  |  March 29, 2010 at 1:12 am

    organic pb. +/or organic almond butter when they have it.
    organic eggs when we didn’t have our own chickens.

  • 2. Mrs. Money  |  March 29, 2010 at 5:54 am

    The spinach deal rocks my socks! I can’t stand to pay $6.99 for the pound at Kroger 😦

  • 3. Tyrah  |  March 29, 2010 at 6:18 am

    We buy some of those same things and also the big bag of organic quinoa, organic PB, organic jelly, hormone free cheese for hubby, the glasslock food storage containers rock!, organic carrots. We love it too, I bet it’s fun to get to travel to different ones and see the varying selection and you are so right on the avocados, they are always perfect!

  • 4. Laurel sauls  |  March 29, 2010 at 7:03 am

    We don’t have a Costco anywhere near us. Is it better than Sam’s Club? We have one of those about 45 minutes away, but I haven’t been in several years. Those prices sound great!! I sometimes buy things in bulk from Matt (he sells food to restaurants). The best deal I can get right now is a 4 pound box of organic spinach for a little less than $14. And I bought some goat cheese from him recently for a pretty good price. I should see if I can get the medjool dates…

  • 5. Ellen  |  March 29, 2010 at 8:09 am

    I LOVE Costco too!! I’m highly impressed by the amount of organic foods they carry! Some of my favorite buys are fruit leather & Hansen’s juice boxes (for school lunches), spinach, Rudi’s bread, 2.5 lbs of organic coffee for $10!!!, organic rice milk, quinoa, clif bars, organic peanut butter, organic canned tomatoes, I could go on and on…. πŸ™‚

  • 6. Amy  |  March 29, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Costco is my guilty pleasure!!! I know I can’t go in there and come out without spending a great portion of my grocery envelope!! πŸ˜€
    (I’m in AL)

    Lettuce – 6 romaine hearts for $4
    Maranatha Almond Butter $6 for 24oz.
    Strawberries $5 for 4lbs
    Grapes $7 for 4 lbs
    Spinach – non organic is $4 for 2.5lbs (they’re often out of the organic!)
    Carrots – 10 lbs for $5 or 5lbs of baby for $4
    pineapple – $8 for 3lbs of sliced
    frozen oj – 3gal for $7
    flour for my own breads/such $7 for 25lb
    avocados (hass usually) don’t remember price
    HUMMUS! Sabra brand $5 for 2lb!!
    frozen blueberries $7.79 for 3lb organic
    frozen smoothie berries $9.99 for 5lb (i think)
    oranges – bought tangerines this week $3 for 10lb bag special!
    organic corn chips – $4 for a huuuuge bag – they’re the most awesome chips EVER!
    Almonds – $9 for 3lbs usually
    Olive Oil
    Salt, pepper, spices – SO cheap there!

    I do buy meat there for hubby – pork loin for $1.87, ribs for $1.79…eek shhhhhh!!!

    I also looooooove their ECO brand laundry soap – lavender and chamomile taste sooo yummy!

    Costco is a whole foodie’s best friend. You can walk out spending $100 on QUALITY real food, or you can blow $100 on a cart full of of packaged “foods” and often you spend the same amount for grossly different amounts of food. All I typed out was around $100’ish without the meat, soap, spices and flour/oil and yet it would provide nourishment for several days!! Awesome place, awesome return and satisfaction guarantee, and not too bad on the member cost!!!

    Hey Sara – we’d love to see a couple posts on what you’re eating these days!!!! πŸ˜€ At least I know I would!

  • 7. meredith  |  March 29, 2010 at 8:31 am

    We love Costco as well! Here are the things that we’ve bought recently
    -hormone free chicken breasts (until the farmer’s chicken grows up and is ready for harvest!)
    -fruit for smoothies
    -spinach and most of our other produce until the farmer’s market opens up
    -cheese and sandwich meat (both hormone free)
    -peanut butter
    -staples like baking supplies and spices
    -cleaning supplies (but I wouldn’t recommend their eco friendly dishwasher detergent)

    -Hanna Andersson dresses for $14.00!!!!
    -PJ’s They had great organic cotton ones for this past fall
    -dress shirts for Daddy
    -random tops, pj pants, and socks for Mommy

    We buy more produce from Costco in the winter vs. the Spring/Summer/Early Fall. It’s hard to be a seasonal eater at Costco, everything is so tempting! But, it saves us so much money and the quality is great!

  • 8. Sarah Reid  |  March 29, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Interesting, we almost never shop at Costco. When we do, we buy Almond Milk (it’s the only place I buy almond milk, it’s marginally cheaper than thru the co-op) and Bread. Sometimes pasta, though I priced it out and it’s pretty comparable with sale prices at the regular grocery store, and we have more selection at the grocery. I’m trying to build up a respectable emergency food storage cache and so we’ve been buying more stuff there than we usually would, because I’m buying more prepackaged stuff (like soup cans) than we typically do. We so rarely buy produce there, preferring instead to support our local farmers. (Same with meat and grains when we can.)

    A CSA (clearly not practical for full-time travelers, but great for folks with more or less permanent homes) typically gives very good prices for a bounty of local, fresh, often organic produce. Buying a whole or part cow or pig from a local farmer is usually cheaper (and better quality) than buying bulk-produced meat at the store.

  • 9. Staci  |  March 29, 2010 at 8:46 am

    We LOVE COSTCO too!

    Have you tried the Taboule? It is a refrigerated item, it is fresh tomato’s, onion, sprouted wheat, parsley, olive oil.. SO YUMMY! It looks similar to salsa or brushetta..
    It’s so good on crackers or toasted bread.



  • 10. dustin  |  March 29, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Oh, the joy of living in The Sticks, Minnesota! I just looked to see how far the closest Costco was and it’s in Canada… 180 miles away! Oh well. I’ll add it to my list of reasons we should move back East where I am originally from πŸ™‚ Or at least down to the Twin Cities!

  • 11. Denise  |  March 29, 2010 at 9:16 am

    I’m new to Costco. The frozen fruit is my favorite right now. I also get dried fruit and freeze dried fruit. Also the dates, nuts, cases of beans (black and garbonzo), big jugs of olive oil… The biggest container of black peppercorns for super cheap. I don’t know how we went without the big boxes of gluten free crackers and the huge jar of almond butter!

  • 12. Vicki  |  March 29, 2010 at 9:42 am

    You should try Ruta Maya coffee instead of starbucks. It’s a smaller company from right here in AustinTexas. They were the first fair trade coffee in the US and they roast the best coffee hands down. I’m pretty sure you can get their coffee at almost all costcos. It’s organic and probably about the same price as starbucks.

  • 13. Jennie  |  March 29, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I don’t know but I need a Costco! Is it like Sam’s Club where you pay a membership?

  • 14. livelightly  |  March 29, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Yes, Costco is a membership based buying club like Sam’s, but BETTER! I suppose it’s kind of like comparing Target to Wal-Mart. Costco is just nicer, friendlier, cleaner, and has more organic and better products.

    There are lots of things you mentioned that we buy too…I totally forgot the peanut butter and jelly (organic!). So good. We’ve also been buying the little sandwich rounds by Orowheat…much cheaper than the regular grocer.

    For those of you who don’t have one near…I would absolutely drive an hour or more to stock up. It’s so worth it!!

    • 15. Sara B  |  May 23, 2010 at 8:01 pm

      I know this is an old post, but thought you might want to know that the Orowheat sandwich thins do contain splenda/sucralose. We did just discover that the Earthgrains brand does not!

  • 16. Denise  |  March 29, 2010 at 11:06 am

    glad I caught this today – I am going to Costco today!

  • 17. Jessica  |  March 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    We love Costco!!!! For a family of 9 the “bulk” sizing ends up being serving size for us:) I always leave with an overflowing cart of goodness!

  • 18. beverly russo  |  March 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    i pretty much do the bulk of my grocery shopping at costco. i also buy all the stuff you and the others have mentioned with the addition of agave nectar, any organic spices they carry, bora bora bars, Tasty Bite madras lentils, yum, evoo, balsmic vinegar, Simply Natural organic tomato & basil pasta sauce, rice milk, organic hummus. yea costco- i also hear they are good to their employees, unlike walmart/sams. ive think you can also split a membership with a non family member?

  • 19. Rene  |  March 29, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    We haven’t been Costco members since we sold the farm. Our rig is just too small to fit their giant sized packages.

    Plus, we’ve lost a lot of weight since we quit. Unfortunately our favorites at Costco are found in the bakery, liquor and snack aisles!

  • 20. flo  |  March 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    ok. you just convinced me to renew membership. costco here comes I…

  • 21. Laura Reaux  |  March 29, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    I miss Nashville where we had Costco! We only have Sam’s here. *sigh* Our Super Target has decent prices on SOME of the organic food, but I buy mostly organic regardless. It’s pretty nuts how expensive it is… but compared to how much we spent on meat years ago, it’s not much different! Add up the cost of meat for our daily dinners back then & we are just buying stuff that’s better for our bodies instead!

  • 22. Heather  |  March 29, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I agree with Sara that buying from local farms is the best option. Although I understand the pull of a buying club, I’d rather keep my money in my community through food co-ops, farms, CSA’s and even whole foods who tries to promote local foods.
    Plus, the environmental footprint on the produce Costco sells is HUGE. I don’t want to eat anything that has travelled that far to my plate; personally it’s just not worth it to me.

  • 23. livelightly  |  March 29, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Sarah and Heather…yes, I do agree that buying locally is a great thing to do. We do that whenever it’s possible. However, when we are headed through a town and have 1 hour to get everything done, we don’t have time to scope out all the local spots.

    I LOVED having our CSA share when we were living in Des Moines, and the farmer’s markets, etc. Can’t wait until we can stock up there again…eating produce that was just harvested is so much more tasty as well!

  • 24. Cherie @Technomadia  |  March 29, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Chris’ parents are Cosco members, and we’ll sometimes stock up when we’re passing through St. Louis on their membership. But generally only on stuff that we can split with them. We just simply don’t have the room to store stuff in the quantity.. esp since we are intermittent fasters (eat only every other day), and don’t go through that much food for the two of us.

    So, we try to do our best to shop locally when we can as we’re traveling through. But, like you said.. sometimes the effort of figuring out where to shop in a new town is just too much.

    But I am impressed with the amount of organic stuff Cosco sells. And we do love getting hummus in big-share-with-friends quantities πŸ™‚

  • 25. Autumn Tao  |  March 29, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Hello… Love the blog, really enjoy reading about your travels and expereinces as a mama.

    Not sure if you know about Slik and how it was bought out by Dean Foods… a monsterously large milk distributer. I was disappointed when I noticed Silk was no longer organic and followed the trail of info to this article (and various others that confirm the same details). Knowledge is power, right? Buying power in this case πŸ™‚

  • 26. unusualpassions  |  March 29, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Wow! I’ve never been to Costco, but it sounds like I really need to start shopping there to save money! Thanks for the tips!

  • 27. Rachel W.  |  March 30, 2010 at 7:34 am

    We’ve thought about buying a Costco membership but wasn’t sure if it’d be worth it or not. We have a store about 15 min from us! After this post, I think it would be! We buy a lot of produce – lots of fruit because we juice – so this might actually save us money. πŸ™‚

  • 28. kate  |  March 30, 2010 at 8:23 am

    i too, LOVE costco!

    a couple of questions though:

    *i shy away from the fresh stuff because i worry about storing it. any tips?

    *are all costco meats and cheeses hormone free?

    *hanna dresses??? when? where? can’t believe i missed that one!

  • 29. Tom Scholfield  |  March 30, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I’m trying to convince my wife to check out our local Costco, we’ll see how it goes.

  • 30. amber sackett  |  March 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    i LOVE costco.
    mine in michigan really has alot of organic stuff. i get my almond milk, sundried tomatoes, nuts and awesome gulten free items as well as quinoa for soooo cheap./

  • 31. Kaydee  |  March 30, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Our absolute favorite thing that we must have from Costco is the Alpine Valley Organic bread! Just like the label says,,,,”one for you and one for the freezer” we love it and can’t find it anywhere else.
    Also we own a restaurant so whenever we go down to Denver from the mtns. we like to pick up sponges and other dry goods that are cheaper than our distributer. Oh, and how can I forget the delicious Morningstar Farms veggie burgers! Not the average no taste, flat burger. yummy!

  • 32. TheGoodFight  |  March 30, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I totally agree with Heather! I never shop at costco or sam’s club because really they’re no better than a walmart. I know organic is very expensive. My family went completely local and organic last year and I thought there is no way we can do this! This stuff is so expensive! But the Lord has just blessed us ever since and we’ve managed to afford the better food. It’s our own liitle miracle of loaves and fishes here! You could always research the area you’re traveling to before hand to find local markets to support. It’ll make you feel better in the end! I’m glad I strumbled upon this site. Best of luck to you!

  • 33. Lesli  |  March 30, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I was there hours ago…got a bunch of your favorites, including the Medjool dates and brussels sprouts; two favorites of mine, and I needed extra as I’m having some friends over Friday and am using the dates as part of a simple dessert and the brussels sprouts as part of a salad (still to be fully envisioned.)

  • 34. Lesli  |  March 30, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    p.s. I have a CSA share, too, as well as my own garden, but Costco fills in the gaps quite nicely!

  • 35. Brianna  |  March 31, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    We buy most of the same things as you, although the deals are not so good at the Canadian Costcos (no organic spinach, for example, and organic coffee is something like $14 for 1.5lbs).

    A question–do you know if the nuts at Costco are really raw? I’m pretty sure the almonds aren’t, but I’m wondering about the others (I love their pecans and do the soak/dehydrate/eat cycle with them but I don’t know if they’re actually raw or not).

    • 36. Erin  |  April 13, 2010 at 2:12 pm

      I’ve been wondering the same thing about the nuts at Costco.

  • 37. morgen  |  March 31, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you so much for this list! I just joined costco last week and was stressed out about trying to find all the goodies.

  • 38. olya  |  April 1, 2010 at 3:42 am

    We LOVE Costco too! The few things ( in addition to what you already listed) that come to my mind at 2:30 a.m. are:

    organic quinoa
    organic EVOO
    amazing locally made pancake mix (we don’t normally do mixes, but this one is an exception, no junk, whole wheat, only needs water and perfect pancakes)
    organic brown eggs

  • 39. Lana Leigh  |  April 2, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Hilarious pun – “we do the bulk of our shopping there.” The bulk? haha

    We don’t have a Costco, but isn’t that close to Sam’s?? Sounds like Costco is a bit more upscale, but here is what we get at Sam’s:

    nuts of all kinds
    dried apricots
    yellow onions
    frozen fruit
    protein powder
    pita chips
    olive oil
    some spices

    WOW this makes me want to go there NOW and buy stuff. Gotta eat a snack beforehand, or I might eat stuff on the way to the checkout line! Didn’t realize how hungry I was…

  • 40. Elena Rego  |  April 4, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I love Costco! I had never really been a Costco fan as a single girl or even when Jon and I started living together, but now that we are in a small mountain town with limited access to grocers and farmers markets, we do a big Costco run at least once a month. What I love most about the produce quantities and prices there is that it makes for cheaper juicing. I go through soooo much produce when juicing and the bulk items at Costco just make my budget sing!

  • 41. C  |  April 5, 2010 at 12:59 am

    I have never understood the draw of big box stores. Like a few others I prefer to keep my money in my community and head to the farmers market and locally owned Coops which can also be quite big. I may spend more but feel like this is a priority for my family and community.
    As a small organic farmer I also understand the true cost of cheap “organic” food to the environment, smaller local farmers, and the cheap labor force that fuels cheap food. In the end they all suffer.
    We need to look beyond the cheap and ever abundant model and into our hearts.

  • 42. C  |  April 5, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Here are 2 great ways to find local food coops and farms/CSA’s!
    Find restaurants and food coops by clicking on restaurants and then your country, state, and town.
    excellent resource for local farms, CSA’s, coops, etc all over the country.

    Happy researching!

  • 43. Nichole  |  April 5, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Love Costco! I usually get:
    organic milk, o raisins,
    o butter, o tortilla chips,
    o salsa, o pop tarts,
    o cereal, o pb, and random fruits/vegs!
    I search for new organic products everytime I go…I even get my husband excited about finding organic or local/natural products! πŸ™‚

  • 44. Amber at Berlin's Whimsy  |  April 8, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I found your blog via Beauty that Moves.

    We love Costco, too. However, Trader Joes is closer to where I live so I tend to go there a lot, too. I get many of my smoothie frozen fruits there… I’ll have to compare TJ’s fruit cost to Costco.

    I also wanted to thank you for the recommend of the book, Smoothies for Optimum Health. I had not heard of it before and I ordered it!! πŸ™‚

  • 45. Cathy  |  April 9, 2010 at 1:37 am

    I don’t have a Costco in a reasonably close distance. I am an Aldi’s freak for my canned and boxed whole grain foods. For veggies, I am left at the mercy of the local grocer, that can be a pretty pricey situation. However, we are reaching growing season. I can’t WAIT to start growing my own veggies!!!! I can just see my grocery bill reducing in volumes.

  • 46. Sandra  |  April 9, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    so glad i stumbled on this! we’ve been neglecting our costco membership and since doing a detox this week, i can really see the need to go back! thanks for the green lemonade recipe, btw! i am bookmarking your site! you should hook up with facebook as well!

  • 47. shels  |  April 11, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Love my Sam’s, wasn’t aware that they treat employees poorly… I will look into the matter and may need to switch to Costco.

  • 48. leahsmithrd  |  April 11, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    I always buy the organic PB, spinach, nuts, cherry tomatoes, berries, and baby bell peppers when I go to Costco. I was just checking out your blog and wondering how you get so much attention, ie: comments? That is awesome!

  • 49. livelightly  |  April 15, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    For those of you wondering if the Costco nuts are truly raw, I don’t know. The almonds are definitely not, but not sure on the others. I’ve never cared too much because buying the “really raw” nuts is extremely expensive. We don’t eat that many to make it worth the money.

  • 50. Lauren  |  April 19, 2010 at 7:34 am

    just wanted to say that I am SO happy i found your blog. you don’t make me feel overwhelmed as a newbie at this and you dont make it feel like its all or nothing. everything ive read i always say “hey i can do that!”

  • 51. mb  |  May 7, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    we get things like dish soap, laundry soap, toilet paper and agave nectar at costco. but as far as produce we are lucky to live in a place where local and small farms are in abundance and our food comes right from local soil!


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