Welcome to The Receipt, a series documenting how Bon Appétit readers eat and what they spend doing it. Each food diary follows one anonymous reader’s week of expenses related to groceries, restaurant meals, coffee runs, and every bite in between. In this time of rising food costs, The Receipt reveals how folks—from different cities, with different incomes, on different schedules—are figuring out their food budgets.
In today’s Receipt, a 31-year-old organic farmer in rural Maine earning $30,000 a year (her compensation also includes free produce, milk, and half a pig) cooks all of her meals with ingredients from the farm. Keep reading for her receipts.
What are your pronouns? She/her
What is your occupation? I’m an organic farmer. The farm has about six acres of vegetables in production during the summer season, which provides for the 180+ families in our community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. We also sell vegetables a la carte via online orders each weekend. The farm also has cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, and ducks for the benefit of the family who owns the farm and four (including me) full-time employees. Lastly, we grow and sell native perennials, both directly to consumers and wholesale to seed companies.
In the summer I spend my days harvesting and washing vegetables leading up to the Wednesday pick up, planting seedlings, and weeding. This time of year, however, we’re working on larger projects like building a new animal barn, organizing storage spaces, and placing our annual seed order.
How old are you? 31
What city and state do you live in? Newport, Maine
What is your annual salary, if you have one? I’m paid $16.50 per hour before taxes, and with overtime in the summer, I end up making around $30,000 a year. My compensation also includes free produce, milk, and half a pig per year.
How much is one paycheck, after taxes? Usually around $1,200. More in the summer with overtime.
How often are you paid? (e.g. weekly) The 1st and 16th of each month.
How much money do you have in savings? Right now, almost nothing. We take a two-week unpaid break around Christmas and New Years and my small stockpile is always depleted this time of year.
What are your approximate fixed monthly expenses beyond food? (i.e. rent, subscriptions, bills)
- Total: $1,089.24
- Rent (Utilities included): $850
- Chewy Autoship (Cat food): $124.78
- YouTube TV: $54.99
- Hulu/Disney+: $17.95
- Amazon Prime: $14.99
- Audible: $15.99
- Spotify: $10.54
Do you follow a certain diet or have dietary restrictions? I try to eat mostly whole, organic foods. I like to support local farms in the area as much as I can. I also eat seasonally because I get free produce from the farm where I work, and every meal of mine includes ingredients from the farm. I love cooking vegetable-filled recipes and make almost everything from scratch. My dream is to journey into making my own dairy products, like cheese and sour cream, but I’m not quite there yet.