I have been able to get my grocery shopping down to just a few stores, as I do not want to waste my food money on gas for the car! Other than picking up our raw milk at a local co-op, I do most of my shopping within a few miles of our home!
What I buy and where:
I try to buy local whenever I can. This is usually possible for meat and fresh vegetables- for these items, I have a local butcher and various fruit and veggie stands that are in close proximity to our home! Buying local produce and meats not only guarantees the freshness of those products but also gives you an opportunity to really get to know the farmers who sell them.
Salt- It may be a surprise to you, unless you regularly shop at Target, but I find my Real Salt in the spice section there! It is also priced very affordable, compared to the local health food stores. I still purchase coarse sea salt by mail order from http://www.bulkfoods.com/ . Bulk foods also has a large variety of raw nuts and organic items.
Lunch meats/bacon- Target also carries Applegate brand bacon and hot dogs. I buy these, as they are uncured and have no preservatives (nitrates and nitrites, which have been linked to cancer in lab rats). The meat is also hormone-free and pastured. Hormel also carries a nitrate/nitrite free line of lunch meats and bacon, but the quality of the meat is questionable, and I only buy this on occasion.
Sugar- I only buy organic, unprocessed sugar. Walmart is the cheapest source for unprocessed, organic sugar that I have found. I get Florida Crystals, which is nothing more than evaporated cane juice. It has a richer taste than processed white sugar and more nutrition to boot!
Stock Ingredients- I make my own stocks (chicken, turkey, beef and fish). The bones used to make stocks can be found at local butchers, but I have also found them at local ethnic grocery stores. Fish parts can be found cheaply at local seafood shops or at your neighbor's house, if he happens to be an avid fisherman!
Grains- Grains for bread and cereal can be bought through Bread Becker's co-ops. Just check for your local co-op on their website! I have also bought grains in bulk at our local health food store. Health food stores, such as Whole Foods, have a bulk buyer that can help you get a discount for buying large quantities! I just get a big bag and split it with friends :)
Although you won't be able to get everything locally, it is a good place to start. With gas prices and shipping costs skyrocketing, I for one am trying to find more affordable ways to feed my family nutritious meals that don't cost an arm and a leg! Let me know where you like to shop for your next meal...