7 Edible Adventures Anyone Can Afford

By Ashley Marcin on 10 August 2015 0 comments

Food is one of my greatest passions in life. I love looking at it. I love making it. I love eating it. In fact, I love food so much that a lot of my entertainment surrounds these activities. Here are some inexpensive ways you can sample local cuisine and make an afternoon of it.

1. U-Pick Farms

Ever wonder what a blueberry orchard looks like? Or how apples hang on tree branches? Stop dreaming and get to a farm. PickYourOwn.org is a great place to find u-pick farms near you. You’ll drive to the location, grab a bucket or bag, fill it up with nature’s goodies, and pay much less per pound than you would at the store.

You’ll get to enjoy some fresh country air and maybe even spot some farm animals.

2. Brewery Tours

Hometown breweries have exploded in the last decade or so. Chances are you can find one near you in this very instant. Grab your friends and head in for a tour. Many offer them for free and even discount beverage flights so you can sample all the different flavors and foams.

Use BreweryMap to discover breweries near you.

3. Wine Tastings

I’m fortunate to live near the Finger Lakes wine region of New York. One of our area wine distributors has a free tasting afternoon almost every weekend — complete with snacks. Check around at your local liquor stores for similar offerings. You could also drive to wineries for more formal tours and gorgeous vineyard vistas.

With both beer and wine excursions, be sure to choose a designated driver.

4. DIY Tour

Maybe your hometown is known for a particular cuisine. We have tons of amazing Italian joints where we live. So, we take an annual pizza tour in the fall each year. Get your friends together, identify some restaurants you want to visit around a theme or certain menu item, and go. You could stop by all the best ice cream and frozen yogurt places. Or maybe sample different ethnic cuisines (who has the best Pad Thai, sushi, or samosas?).

Tip: Choose small portions at each location to keep costs down.

5. Potlucks

Open up your home to your foodie friends for some good eats and fun. A little planning goes a long way. First, consider the size and scope of your meal. Then assign dishes around a theme, if possible. Try shopping at discount grocers, like Aldi, to get great deals on quality ingredients. Last, label everything before chowing down to avoid allergy or diet-related mishaps. (See also: Throw an Awesome Potluck With These 6 Easy Tricks)

6. Farmers Markets

A morning trip to the farmers market is more about the experience than just the food. Whether you’re picking up your CSA bag for the week or just grabbing produce from different farms, you can turn your trip into an adventure. There’s often live music or other performances to enjoy. You may even find free samples and unique offerings from local bakers and chefs. Keep your eyes and ears open.

Check out the USDA’s Farmers Markets Directory for your closest market.

7. Culinary Classes

You can find a variety of casual cooking classes around town. Some grocery stores host events surrounding seasonal ingredients or certain cuisines. Farms and cooperative extensions offer sessions on food preservation, gardening, and even more specific activities like cheese-making. Check your community calendar for notice of these events or with the organizations for direct information. Many classes are free or low cost.

If you’re lucky enough to have a culinary school or center nearby, comb their website for events. The New York Wine & Culinary Institute in Canandaigua, NY, for example, has a multitude of classes starting at around $30.

How do you broaden your palate while stay close to home (and close to your budget)?

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