Nothing beats the sweet crisp of local apples in the fall. Once you’ve had the real deal, it’s hard to go back to the chemical-laden rounds that you find in regular grocery stores. We have survived cancer and live with bi-polar, but here, we are in the same boat as everyone everywhere: healthy food is always in season, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are 4 shopping tips to nourish your body and ease your wallet.

1. Find a local produce stand. We love Linda’s Fruit Stand in East Ridge, TN. Linda’s carries local produce and goodies like eggs, grits and cornmeal for mouth-watering fresh taste and inexpensive cost. Prices and selection fluctuate depending on the season and the week’s crop. We eat fruits and/or vegetables with every meal, and we come home with 1-2 weeks worth for $20-40.

2. Get your pantry basics from a discount grocery store. We shop at Aldi’s in Fort Oglethorpe, GA. We get basics like beans, organic milk and Soymilk, cheese, butter, and frozen wild-caught salmon, along with seasonal treat foods from their “specially selected” line like butternut squash pasta sauce. They also have a small selection of organic frozen fruits and canned goods, which we use for breakfasts and soup-making.

3. Find specialty health goods at a discount health foods store. We recently discovered Village Market in Collegedale, TN. On my first experimental trip yesterday, I bought wheat flour, bran, oatmeal, carob, and peppercorns for a fraction of the price I would have paid in a regular grocery store.

4. If you like ethnic food, follow those who know it well. We have not done this yet, but based on advice from our Nicaraguan neighbor Tati, we want to start buying salsa, tortillas and other Latin fare from Carniceria LOA on Main Street in downtown Chattanooga.

Happy noshing!