My previous post pointed out some of the benefits of organic produce. Now we’ll look at how to obtain it.
Primarily, the pesticides our grocery store fruits and vegetables are doused with come from crop dusting. It’s most of the large corporate farms that utilize so many pesticides. And the conventional foods you see in the stores, not only fresh, but frozen and canned as well, come from corporate farms. Also, they use plenty of chemical fertilizer—to get the most out of what they can grow.
Where is the best place to find organic food? And how can you avoid spending a small fortune?
You have some options.
One way to avoid those pesticide-drenched fruits and vegetables is to frequent your local farmer’s market whenever you can. Small, local farmers will readily tell you how they’ve grown their produce. Having lived in many different communities in several states, almost all of the local farmers at the markets I frequented said they didn’t use toxic pesticides, and many used composting for fertilizer instead of chemicals.
They consume their produce too, and don’t want to use chemical fertilizer and pesticides on what they eat either.
Farmer’s markets are also great places to find home baked items, fresh farm eggs, and various handmade pot holders, aprons, and other household things. Actually, each one’s different, offering a variety of items. The prices are better because you’re avoiding the usual retail markup.
If you’re new to a community, and don’t know about a farmer’s market, try asking the Chamber of Commerce.
Along the same line, inquire about CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture). These groups offer organics at a significant reduction if you purchase a box every week—or two. The only downside is you get what they have available, and you won’t know what you’re getting until it arrives, or you pick it up. So, if you don’t mind getting Swiss Chard, when you were expecting Kale, or eggplant instead of squash, you might give it a try.
Health food stores
There are health food stores, of some sort or other, in almost every city and town in the country. Some are better than others, but organics are always sold. Some of the bigger ones like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Akins often offer conventional as well as organics. So shop carefully. The bigger ones also have plenty of fresh produce, whereas the smaller ones often don’t have fresh produce, but DO have organic canned, packaged, and frozen foods.
Again, the Chamber should have information on health food stores. Be aware, though, that Whole Foods is known in some circles as Whole Paycheck. You’re better off avoiding it if you have a choice, and care about your budget.
Buy in bulk
If you frequent health food stores, they almost all have a bulk section, offering bins of organic food items such as flour, beans, rice, spices, nuts and seeds at a discount. You do have to scoop it out, bag it yourself, and copy down the item number so the checker can look up the price, but it’s worth it. You’re avoiding the extra expense of packaging—which can be considerable.
Another plus with buying in bulk is you can get exactly the amount you want to purchase. If you don’t eat a lot of rice normally, but need a small amount for a specific recipe, you can get the exact amount you need
Organic sections in the grocery stores
It now seems to be the “in” thing for grocery stores to offer more organics. If yours isn’t there yet, ask for it. And get your friends to ask for it.
Even Wal-Mart is going more and more into the organics business. And other grocery chains like Kroger have an extensive organic section.
Grow your own
If you have space in your yard, or on your property, start a garden. That way, you can enjoy VERY fresh foods during the growing season. And if you know how to can or freeze, that enjoyment can last year-round. If you don’t know how to can or freeze, it’s easy to learn.
Also, with a garden, you can grow what you like most. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, try container gardening. Even a window sill or balcony can be an area to grow, if nothing else, spices and herbs.
Gardening will be VERY friendly to your budget!
If you’re thinking that buying or growing organic food is just too expensive or too much trouble, you might remember about the savings to your health. Organics have considerably more vitamins and minerals, and more antioxidants than conventionally grown food. And besides that, GMO’s, chemical pesticides and herbicides have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases. Now, THAT’S EXPENSIVE!
So take your health seriously, and do what you can to consume organic foods.