Now that we have most of our boat projects in motion, we have started to do some planning for our Caribbean & Bahamas winter excursion. One thing we’ve been hearing a lot from fellow and past cruisers is that it can be very expensive to purchase food once abound.
The biggest problem is that we are a little bit (okay okay, more than a little bit) picky about the quality of food we like to eat. Before the boating life, we had grown accustomed to having unlimited access to high quality foods (especially living in Boulder, CO). Our bodies have adapted to this nicely, but the cost and availability of this type of food is pretty limited now. Once we leave the mainland, it will be worse.
Our plan is pretty simple. We have stockpiled about 4 months worth of canned and dehydrated foods from stores like Costco, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Its hard to say exactly how much of everything we need, so I made a spreadsheet with a master list. I broke it out into generic categories including fruits, veggies, proteins, condiments, dry goods, spices, snacks, drinks and dehydrated meals to name a few. I took it to another (maybe unnecessary) level and broke out the amount of meals per month over the four month period that we would want:
4 Months of Meals
|December – 31 days @ 3 meals per day = 93 meals|
|January – 31 days @ 3 meals per day = 93 meals|
|February – 29 days @ 3 meals per day = 87 meals|
|March – 31 days @ 3 meals per day = 93 meals|
|Grand Total: 366 meals|
Up until this point, the longest period of time we have provisioned for is around 6 weeks, and that was knowing we’d be able to stop in larger cities along the way. Based on what I know of our eating habits, I put together a rough list of everything we might want/need for 4 months (in addition to what we already have). But honestly, it is a crapshoot! 🙂
We started with Costco, stocking up on the most bulk for less (ideally organic). Trader Joe’s helped us to get more canned goods at a great price that we couldn’t find at Costco. Finally, Whole Foods rounded us out. We spent around $1000 for what we believe will be enough food to last for 4 months. But we didn’t take into consideration the fact that its only October, and our “Start-date” is December. So we still have more stocking up to do before we take off in a few weeks.
Once we got the food, the next challenge was organizing and labeling all of it. I wanted to put the name of the item and dates on everything. I got a little carried away when I actually split up everything into provision “bags” for each month. This way when we run out of something (Say dried fruit), we have to wait until the next month to break out the new bag of dried fruit. Hopefully this will help us to manage our consumption.
I was happy once I managed to actually get all the food put away in a pretty organized fashion, so that I know where and how much of everything I have (once December comes along). Up until then, we are planning week-to-week.
Here’s a little video: