UPDATE: Some people have ordered directly from the links below, which is okay, but they don't get you the good price! Use THIS LINK and click "Invite Friends," then add yourself. That way you'll get the party prices too, which are at least half the price of the store snacks!
Sam and Vivi love freeze dried fruits and veggies and I get them as often as I feel I can afford it. I usually reserve them for car trips, weddings, church or other events where I need something delicious enough to keep their attention, but not messy. Kid snacks can be kind of tricky when you don't do processed food (no dried cereal for us, it's sad). Freeze dried foods are the best solution I've found yet. The only drawback is the price ($5-6/oz., Ouch!), but I've just figured out how to get them for half that!
The company is called Thrive and the prices are great, but more importantly, they taste awesome! Their fruits and veggies are just as good, if not better than what I've been buying at Whole Foods and Costco. I think the corn is even a little sweeter than what I've had before, both the kids love the veggies (almost as much as the fruit). In addition to the snack type foods- or at least what I'd snack on, maybe not everyone grooves on freeze dried peas:) -they have really awesome food storage items, like freeze dried butter, sour cream, and even sausage! (Don't tell, but the sausage was one of my favorite things, just straight out of the can! Seriously, I could sneak a can into the movie theater and eat half of it! Is that weird...?) I love the idea of having some of those things that would be hard to come by in an emergency, right there in my basement. They even have yogurt with live cultures! Unfortunately it also has sugar (so tasty though!), but you could totally use it to start a batch of homemade yogurt if you're lucky enough to have a cow, or even if you only had powdered milk.
My darling mom has just gotten involved with Thrive (it was totally my idea to write about it for her, because truthfully, the food is awesome, and you want to know about this!), they're sort of a modern day Tupperware, at least in regards to their business model. People have parties at their houses where they invite all their friends to sample the food. You can even have a Skype party if you're not local (See? Totally modern+retro: cute aprons and ladies shmoozing, only over the internet!) The hostess gets 10% of the grand total purchased through her party in FREE food, yay! Plus there's something about a certain percentage she can buy at 50% off. So, their regular retail prices are already 50% less than buying the snacks at the store (if you buy the #10 can size), and with the various hostess perks they're way less.
Paying for the #10 cans is more money upfront, but is definitely a way better deal in the long run. And most products have a shelf life of 6-18 months once opened, which is more than enough time for your family to work their way through a can of freeze dried bananas. They have a thing called "The Q" where you can order a little bit each month, and that way steadily build up your food storage and replace the snack things you eat regularly. The prices for people on The Q are a little lower, plus they have sales that you can keep an eye out for to stock up.
My mom and I hosted a party and it was really fun and laid back. I just invited some girlfriends over to taste everything, and now we're all getting some food storage- and I'm getting some hostess perks! Hosting a party is really the best way to go, especially if you're on a tight budget. It's all a good deal, but you can't really beat free! Parties can be in person, on Skype, or even e-parties where you just email people and they order, no biggie:)
My plan is to order my free and 50% off stuff and then get on The Q for a couple snack items and a few food storage items each month, so I can build up my food storage. It's always something I'm meaning to do, but I never get around to it because it seems overwhelming. We have a pretty decent food storage, but a lot of it is pretty freezer-dependant, which isn't ideal. I'd like to know that even if we had a major power outage we would still have access to (nearly) fresh veggies (the green beans are AMAZING- even better than frozen!), dairy and meat, things that are otherwise hard to store. Plus you can skip all the yucky BPA and metal gunk that's in canned food. Most of this stuff has a shelf life of 20-30 years, so I figure once I'm stocked up I can check that off my mental list of things to worry about.
The website is pretty, but not the most user-friendly. If you get confused, call my mom- she's really nice:)
Do you do food storage? What are your staples? Do you plan out meals and have all the ingredients, or just a hodge podge of stuff (I'm somewhere between the two...). Do you use your storage regularly? (I'm getting much better at this!) What are your favorite sources for food storage?