What Does a Real Foodie Buy at…Tropical Traditions?

What Does a Real Foodie Buy at Tropical TraditionsThis is the last of the “What Does a Real Foodie Buy at…?” series, which has already covered:Tropical Traditions is an interesting online shop to discuss through the lens of frugality, because for the most part, the products there are rather expensive. On the other hand, there are a few gems that are probably the best price on the web, especially if you wait until the free shipping weekends that happen about once a month or so. (In fact, I was sort of hoping this would be a free shipping weekend, which is why I saved TT until last…but it’s not. Sad smile Maybe next week! I almost always make a note of it on Facebook, so “like” the page over there to be kept in the loop on little deals like those that I might not mention on the blog.) I do a fair amount of food shopping at Tropical Traditions in spite of the prices, because they have a referral program that pays out in gift certificates – and you don’t have to be a blogger to benefit! Here’s how it works:
  1. Sign up for the referral program HERE (Link Removed).
  2. If you see a good deal, or perhaps on the free shipping weekends, you can share it on your own Facebook timeline, via email, or on your blog if you have one. Anywhere you can type a link, you can share your special link.
  3. Create your referral links to specific products HERE. When you look at an individual product, there’s a “promote and earn” link below it. Click there and generate your link.
  4. Anytime a new customer makes any order after clicking on your link, whether they buy what you recommend or something else, they get a free book about coconut oil and you get a $25 gift certificate to Tropical Traditions. Win-win!
Just so you know, I don’t get anything for referring you to the referral program, but I love helping you all figure out creative ways to get food for less…and free is always a great deal. If you’ve never shopped at Tropical Traditions and you think you might want the coconut oil book, use one of my links on this page, like this one. If you make a purchase, you get a free book (and yep, I get a gift certificate). But wait – hold out for the free shipping unless you see an incredible deal that you can’t pass up!

What Real Katie Would Buy at TT

imageSometimes blogger Katie gets perks that normal Katie would never have been able to afford. Before I had a bunch of “free money” at TT, I made an occasional order on free shipping weekends. Here’s what I’d buy:
  • Organic tomato paste and tomato sauce in glass jars, because tomatoes leach BPA from their cans more than any other food. I know I just said I wasn’t elitist about that kind of thing, and I’m not. If you can’t afford glass jarred tomatoes, you’re not the most horrible person in the world. If you can, TT is often a much better price than a local health food store. Those Jovial diced tomatoes are truly rich and amazing.
Shopping tip: If you buy 4 of each (paste and sauce only), it’s enough for the minimum free shipping requirement and fits nicely in one box, too. I used to have about half and half canned and glass jarred tomatoes when I started the transition. If I was cooking for company, I would use the  canned stuff. That may sound selfish, but hopefully it was just prudent and doing the best I could within my means.
  • Coconut flour This is one of the “best price on the web” examples. I haven’t found coconut flour for less anywhere, and the quality is great. Coconut flour is my top recommendation for anyone starting a grain-free (or even gluten-free) diet, because you use very little in each recipe, and you only need this one flour to make all sorts of stuff. (Some examples in the free downloads that come with the KS monthly newsletter right now!)
  • Palm shortening – A healthy fat that goes great in biscuits, homemade tortillas, and especially pie crusts, I’m fairly certain TT has a good price on palm shortening, especially when it goes on sale.
  • Coconut cream concentrate  – Also called coconut butter, this stuff is neat for making coconut milk stir fry sauces, frostings, and any recipe that calls for coconut cream or coconut butter. It’s shelf stable and lasts a long time. Right NOW there’s a BOGO sale on them, but even the normal price is better than I could find elsewhere.
  • Einkorn pasta and flours – The prices at TT right now beat Amazon’s current price by a longshot, so if you want the ancient wheat of einkorn in your diet, Tropical Traditions is the place. They even have their own einkorn wheat berries grown here in the U.S., which is kind of cool (and more frugal than other brands).
 Real Food Easter Baskets
  • Freeze-dried fruitWhen John started solids, the question I received more than any other was, “What are you going to feed him as an on-the-go snack instead of Cheerios?” This is the answer. I’d buy a few bags of expensive, organic, freeze-dried-melt-in-your-mouth fruit, break each piece into tiny pieces when I fed him at church or wherever, and make this bag last a month or two. We didn’t share with the other kids, and we didn’t use them in the house – only for on the go! Now that I’ve been shopping with certificates lately, I stocked up a little and let the big kids have some in their yogurt. It’s yummy!
Shopping tip: I’ve never seen the fruit go on sale. 

    What You can Get with Those Coupons…

    butter comparisons Kolona Super Natural (1) (500x375)Real Katie may be a sparse TT shopper, but coupon-laden Katie has quite a bit of fun there. Here are things you might enjoy if you do the referral program:Note: You can’t use the free shipping coupon codes with the $25 gift certificate codes. BUT you can take advantage of sales, which I try to do as much as possible to maximize the goodness.
    • Shredded and flaked coconut – I thought these were decent deals, but it turns out that compared to Country Life, they are not. However, when shopping with coupons, I watch for a sale on coconut and get a few of the larger bags. It’s so good in so many things!!
    • Spelt, millet, and other whole grains and flours
    • Kalona grassfed butter – as I said when I covered buying the best butter, Kalona is pricey, and I have some qualms about shipping cold things around and the environmental impact. TT is really good about using sustainable materials, however, even using corn-based insulators instead of a Styrofoam cooler to ship frozen goods.That said, if you have gift certificates to use or can’t find a source of butter and really want it, Kalona is delicious.UPDATE 2014: If you see Kalona anywhere in your town, grab it like hotcakes, but Tropical Traditions no longer carries the brand. Their Nordic Creamery butter is a good alternative – not nearly as gorgeously yellow, but a very nice butter in a funny package. My kids had so many questions about the “big roll of butter!”Shopping tip: Watch for sales and play with the shipping – it only went up a few bucks for me when I tripled my order, so I stocked the freezer. Free shipping is usually only for ground, not refrigerated/frozen, so it won’t apply.
    • Soy-free eggs – I just got 8 dozen of these eggs because they had a free shipping on eggs sale that DIDN’T need a coupon code, so I didn’t have to pay a dime. The eggs come in cardboard, not Styrofoam, and without ice packs. They’re good. Not great…the yolks aren’t really deep in color or rich…but they were raised well and that’s what matters to me.
    • Organic cocoa powder
    • The EVOO and sesame oil are delicious
    • The spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce are great too, but pricey!
    • Green label coconut oil – I get such a good deal on coconut oil (and Costco now carries a good brand, too) that I never wanted to purchase from TT. When it goes on a really good sale, though, the gift certs can help you stock up.
    • Goat milk protein powder – my husband is happy to have this option, since I didn’t want to buy him the same old stuff from a fitness store that he’s been having.
    • Organic applesauce – after last year’s abysmal apple crop, I thought I’d better stock up on applesauce just in case. The irony of Michigan apples being shipped to Eden Foods in Battle Creek, then the jars shipped to the Nevada TT center, then shipped back to me in Grand Rapids is not lost on me. It makes me sad!
    • Balsamic vinegar and ACV – The bottle of balsamic is too tall to fit in my cabinet. Consider yourself warned!
    • Organic BPA-free canned beans – This is definitely a compromise and preparedness purchase. Beans can be eaten cold from the can if a disaster strikes, so I thought I should stock up a little bit.
    Shopping tip: You have to use the entire gift certificate, and although you can combine the 25s to make bigger gift certificates (click “gift certificates” in green on the right), they have to be in certain increments. Ground shipping and refrigerated items DO count on the same total, just not the same shipping. Sometimes you need a small-ish item to reach the proper total value. My favorite little items include:
    • Dark chocolate – Heavenly bars!
    • Fruit preserves – these little jars have no added sweetener and are a great homemade yogurt backup if you get low on frozen fruit.
    • Organic spices – I’d usually buy spices in bulk, but if I’m out of something and need to get up to a certain increment, picking a spice is like shoe shopping is to many women. Winking smile
    • The freeze-dried fruit from above
    Eco tip: The boxes Tropical Traditions uses to mail most of their food items have thick dividers and would be fabulous for someone moving. Save up until you have a handful, then offer them for free on Craigslist or Freecycle. Same with the packing paper. It’s a way that I feel slightly less guilty for using so many resources to get food to my door…Your turn! Do you order food online? What do you love at Tropical Traditions?Disclosure:  All the links to Tropical Traditions will help me generate coupons, as I explained above. See my full disclosure statement here.

    22 thoughts on “What Does a Real Foodie Buy at…Tropical Traditions?”

    1. 8 dozen eggs is so many! Of course I’m single and easily go thru a dozen a week so I guess with a crew I can see making it thru them without much problem=)

      Just out of curiosity, since they coat the shell in oil…do you still refrigerate them as soon as they get to you?

    2. I can get coconut flour for about $3.50 a pound at a local store in the bulk section. But the coconut flour I see is not white, it’s a light orangey color. This is the same for the coconut flour at health food stores and anywhere I see it in bulk bins. It looks like the TT coconut flour is white? Not sure why it’s different. Also, I got the coconut cream and a 5 gallon bucket of coconut oil a few weeks ago. The coconut concentrated cream is really good on a spoon :0)

    3. Tarisa via Facebook

      It gets a little messy, but I give it to him on car rides and I have a roll of paper towels and a jar of water (= instant wet wipes) ready in the car for when he’s done. 🙂

    4. Stacy Makes Cents

      I <3 Tropical Traditions. Thanks for the tip about babies and freeze-dried fruit. 🙂 I bought some but I was eating it myself. LOL I'll give it to Andy instead.

    5. Rebecca via Facebook

      I wish I could find one that is soft enough. We end up carting around a cooler with chicken and baked carrot sticks

    6. We do a lot of raisins now too, but under one year that wasn’t possible…and isn’t avocado too messy, Tarisa? I can’t imagine that one at church… 😉 Katie

    7. Tarisa via Facebook

      For to-go snacks, I do raisins, coconut flakes, nuts, your dehydrated green beans, avocado (I peel half of the skin off for him to hold), Clementine oranges, homemade gummies (I put his supplements in them)….

    8. We buy TT’s Organic Lip Moisturizers, they are the best I’ve had, and the price is about what Burt’s are; their buy one get one free ends Sunday/today.

    9. What a great list! We also love their dishwasher detergent–hands down, it’s the best natural one we’ve tried. And I do buy their coconut oil in 5 gallon buckets. We also love their soaps–have you tried them? And the unscented lotion works really well as a carrier for essential oils. Thanks for sharing what you love to buy from TT–I hope to try some of your new-to-me favorites…

    10. they have THE BEST coconut oil. i get both the gold label raw and the expeller pressed in 5 gallon tubs and split it 5 ways with friends and it ends up around $27 per gallon for expeller pressed and $50 a gallon for raw this way (after shipping). it is the best tasting coconut oil i have ever had and i have been using different brands for 6 years. it is actually the main product we get there, besides the coconut cream i just ordered. i highly recommend finding friends to split this deal with. i love my local real food community!

    11. We love their honey although I think Vitacost is cheaper most of the time. Since we live on the East Coast shipping is a killer.

    12. One of the things we get there is their raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and with free shipping, that is cheaper than anywhere else and so good!

    13. robin aka goatmom

      I love TT and having few local shopping store options make good use of free shipping for everyday pantry items like tomato products in glass. They occassionaly have a cold item free ship and I bravely ordered some buffalo products. Can’t find them at my local farmer and arrived with some dry ice pieces and still frozen solid exactly when they said would be here. All other meat and eggs I have 2 great local sources for pasture raised, recently all went 100% GMO free, beef, chicken, eggs, lard. Raise my own milk! My nearest costco is about 100 miles away, same for more than Walmart, Publix! We recycle boxes to start new grden areas/weed kill. I price shop between Amazon, Vitacost and TT mostly. I feel their Cocnut oil is a good product but I prefer Nutiva and Vitacost flavor more. Have a 5 gallon of the everyday unflavored for sauting, greasing pans and suchstill good 2 years later. I buy my Eikhorn wheat berries here. For safe packaging TT is amazing but my experience with all 3 has been positive for packaging, fast ship. Online has made transitioning to real food possible for us starting 7 years ago.

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