I was buying produce last week trying to decide between buying organic tomatoes and paying the mortgage.
Food is expensive. Period. But buying organic food is astronomically expensive.
If you can afford it, fantastic! But if you’re shopping on a budget; read on.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has strict guidelines for those products displaying the “organic” label. Producers must comply with numerous regulations, keep meticulous records and be inspected regularly.
Oh, and pay lots of fees.
Produce is grown with buffer zones separating organic from conventionally grown crops, and without the use of conventional or synthetic pesticides.
It’s believed those ingested conventional pesticides build up in the body contributing to many health ailments including cancer.
In our Great- Grandparents day pesticides were a miracle because they kept pests from damaging crops making it possible for much greater yield per acre of farm land. More food for a growing nation. More cash per crop for our nation’s farmers.
Long before the organic revolution began the government placed strict limits on the amount of pesticide residue allowed in conventionally grown produce to assure health and safety.
It’s important to note; organic producers can use natural pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Pesticides like copper and sulfur are considered natural but can be harmful yet those are allowed and commonly used.
So . . . Here’s the dilemma:
The cost of organics is prohibitive, causing people to eat less fruits and vegetables.
That’s bad. Really bad.
Eating a greater quantity of conventionally grown produce is preferable because the cancer fighting properties of these foods far outweigh the minimal risk presented by pesticides.
So eat your fruits and veggies – organic or not!
Some fruits and vegetables may have higher levels of pesticides than others. To get the biggest bang for your buck you need to know where to save and where to spend.
You need to know about the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen.
The list changes each year, here’s the 2016 list:
Where to save – Some fruits and veggies are safe to eat when conventionally grown because they hold minimal levels of pesticides so you get minimal benefit from buying them organically.
They are called the Clean 15: asparagus, avocado, cabbage, sweet corn, cantaloupe, sweet peas, onions, mango, kiwi, pineapples, eggplant, honeydew melon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower.
Where to spend – When affordable and available, select organic versions of the following;
Referred to as the Dirty Dozen. strawberries apples, nectarines peaches, grapes, celery, tomatoes spinach, cherries, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers and kale/collards.
You can also economize elsewhere to more easily afford to buy organic. Here’s how – Secrets of Frugal Grocery Shoppers
In addition to your friendly neighborhood supermarket, great places to buy organic produce are your community’s Farmer’s Markets.
To find Farmers Markets in your community go here: http://www.localharvest.org or https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets
Let’s not forget about Bountiful Baskets, a totally cool not-for-profit food co-op for families that want to have more fresh produce for less money.
To see if they’re in your area go here: www.bountifulbaskets.org
You order online and for $15 for conventional or $25 for organic, you receive a generous basket of produce which varies weekly. You never know what you’re going to get so it’s kind of like Christmas and the savings are considerable. This co-op is run by volunteers so you should expect to volunteer a few hours a month.
Another way to find great prices on organics is by shopping online. Just run quick search on Amazon to check prices before you shop. If the item is cheaper online, don’t buy it at the store, order it when you get home.
An example –
At Wal-Mart Nutiva organic coconut oil is $12.84 for 15 oz. or 85₵ per oz.
On Amazon Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, 15 Ounces is $18.68 for a TWO pack! It’s only 59₵ per oz. and it qualifies for free 2 day shipping on Prime!
Get a 30 day FREE trial of Amazon Prime here:
We all need good food to be healthy so watch for sales on organics and buy the best you can afford. But don’t make yourself crazy.
It’s still healthier to eat a conventionally grown apple than an organic doughnut.