BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. — Recognizing a need when one sees it is part of being a good educator.

By putting the focus on food purchases, Cornell Cooperative Extension Nutrition Educator Diane Whitten is working to help families lower their grocery bills.

With an eye on those interested in the business of food, Whitten also has scheduled a virtual program for working, and would-be, food entrepreneurs. The advice for cutting grocery bills is free. The full-day Zoom program for food entrepreneurs comes with the fee.

In a news release that addresses how to reduce grocery bills, Whitten notes that by adopting a few good shopping habits families can save more money than they think.

Her recommendations include eating seasonally, making a grocery list, tracking prices, using coupons wisely, and avoiding food waste.

Eat Seasonally – When produce is in-season there’s an abundance of it, so the price will be less than at other times of the year. Whether we’re talking about locally in-season, or produce from Florida or California being in-season the prices will reflect that at the grocery store. Look for strawberries in spring, peaches, and corn in summer, apples and cranberries in the fall and oranges in winter.

Make a Grocery List – By shopping with a list, and sticking to it, you can resist the temptation to buy the items that are being marketed to you. Grocery stores have subtle ways to entice you to buy food you don’t need.

Track Prices – Make a mental note of the cost of foods, including produce, meat, eggs and dairy, so you’ll be able to spot when the price has reduced or gone up. Not all sale items are advertised. If the price has been temporarily reduced on a certain cut of meat, stock up on it and freeze extra for later.

Use Coupons Carefully – Don’t become a coupon junkie or you might end up buying things you wouldn’t have normally. A great price on an item not on your grocery list, is still money spent on groceries that could have been spent for more pressing household expenses.

Avoid Food Waste – Even if an item is on sale, it won’t save you money if it spoils before you eat it. Americans toss out 150,000 tons of food each day.

Whitten’s program for food entrepreneurs is titled, Recipe for Success: A Workshop for Food Entrepreneurs. It will be held virtually from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Oct. 21 via the Zoom platform.

The workshop will include speakers from Cornell University Food Venture Center, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York Kitchen Company Food Consultant, SCORE Business Marketing and Counseling, and others.

“If you’re thinking of making and selling a favorite recipe, or even if you already have a small food business, the presenters of this program can give you guidance,” Whitten said in a statement on the program. “Their experience and expertise in licensing a food product, processing, packaging, marketing, pricing and selling are an invaluable resource.”

The workshop also will include the basics of successful small business management so current or potential food entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend.

The fee for the session is $50 for the full day or $30 for the morning or afternoon session only.

Those interested in attending the virtual workshop are asked to register by Oct. 20 at this link:

or contact Cornell Cooperative Extension at 518-885-8995 or event coordinator, Diane Whitten, at

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