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Tricks to saving money on organic/free-range animal products? Unnecessary?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I know this could also be posted in the Nutrition forum but I'm looking at it more from a financial perspective (though one that incorporates health & nutrition!)

I'm very new to eating animal products still. I'll admit I'm completely terrified of eating conventional meat, dairy, or eggs. But I'm honestly not quite sure what's real & what's woo. I also want to branch out and try different meats/cheeses/etc. but there are limited organic options and some of them are cost-prohibitive.

So... I have heard that meat & dairy from Ireland & New Zealand are more likely to be ethically raised & healthier... and seem to be cheaper than items specifically labelled 'organic'. How about cheeses from other countries? What about meats, like goat from Australia? Is wild-caught fish from China safer? Any certain cheaper brands that use mostly organic practices but aren't specifically certified? Anything else you might look for to save money & still get healthy, antibiotic-free, etc. animal products?

How much more is reasonable to pay for organic? Is it really smart to buy an organic, free-range chicken that costs 3x more than a conventional one??? If the price difference is too drastic, do you buy conventional or forgo that item altogether? How about eggs, they cost $4/doz for organic cage-free or $3 for free-range or $1 for conventional, which would you choose? Is rbst-free dairy the same as hormone/antibiotic-free dairy?

Ahhh so many questions, please elaborate as much as you want because I'm very interested in a broader discussion on this than just the questions above. For reference, our finances are really tight, so I guess I'm getting at what things are "nice if you can afford it but really unnecessary" and which are more critical.

(The co-ops and farmers markets around here seem to charge much more than the grocery stores plus are more driving & more inconvenient times.)
post #2 of 24

Ahh, this is my weekly grocery store question. We do paleo/primal. Here's how I work it out in my head. I have read that animals store most toxins in fat, soooo if there is animal fat, I try to make sure it is good fat. To me, that means pastured/grassfed. We do whole fat dairy if it is grassfed. We cut off the fat and choose lean cuts of meat if it's not grassfed. I have looked far and wide for deals, but they are local to me. I get whole, low heat pasturized, non-homogenized milk from my CSA for 6.29 a gallon. From that milk, I make all our yogurt and sometimes ice cream. We will not buy ultra pasteurized, unless we are in a pinch. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, they have some good prices. They have a New Zealand grassfed cheese for 5.49/lb. Kerrygold butter is grassfed. For dairy, I put grassfed over organic. I just found a meat csa. The price per pound for a mix of grassfed/ pastured beef and pork is 7.50/pound and includes steaks/chops as well as ground. Check out eatwild and google to see what you have available in your area for csa's. I think the absolute cheapest is to buy a whole/half/quarter cow, but we don't really have the freezer space.

My feeling is that, since animals concentrate the toxins in pesticides, it's better to spring for the safest/cleanest sources you can afford, over organic produce. We do the dirty dozen/clean 15 lists, and buy produce in season or on sale. If I find something for a really good price, I buy extra and blanche and freeze or store.

 

For eggs, I feel like even expensive eggs are such cheap protein. My minimum is "organic" because (I think) they are not allowed to use GMO soy in the feed. From my understanding, free range and cage free mean nothing. The best price I've found for pastured eggs is 4.50 a dozen, and I can find organic for 3.16, at Walmart, of all places. Wish we could have chicens, but it's not allowed where we live :(

 

Chicken, I just don't know what the best deal is there. I do buy organic, because I think that rules out some of the things I worry most about. I have found local sources, but they are totally out of the ballpark for me ($5 and up per pound- um, no) I usually buy chickens when they go on sale, cut them up, and freeze them. Or, lately, I've found organic chicken thighs marked down. When I find something like that, I'll buy as much as I can. I also freeze the bones and make broth every so often.

 

Oh, I have read to avoid wild-caught fish from China, but I don't remember why, and it's by far the cheapest, and it's what we buy.

If you have a Whole Foods, they actually have good prices on some things. If I remember, their canned salmon is among the cheapest I've seen. And their store brand is cheapest.


I try really hard to save money shopping, but we also prioritize health and eating clean food. We buy almost 0 snacks. Nothing processed. I make a lot of our stuff. We waste almost nothing. Planning helps. I find going to stores less helps. Even if I'm trying to stick to a list, it's an opportunity to spend money.  I have a checklist that I use that lists everything I could buy from each store, and when making my grocery list, I go through the checklist, so I don't forget that one thing that means I have to go back the next day. I only sort of menu plan, because paleo is more like, which meat, which veg, so as long as there are enough of each.... I've also cut out almost everything from our non-food budget. We no-poo, and are almost paper free (just can't get my head around family cloth for number 2 just yet....)  Altogether, though, it's not cheap. I remember when I used to cut coupons, and I could feed DH and I for like $30 a week.....but we weighed 30 lbs more each, and were much less healthy.

I hope that helps some....and I'm looking forward to seeing the other responses. I'm always always looking for ways to save money without sacrificing our ideals.

post #3 of 24

I'm sorry to hear that your farmer's markets cost a lot more than organics at the grocery store. We buy 100% of our meat from local farms. Do you know of any farms in your area that sell direct from the farm? I am lucky that I have a farm 5 minutes from my house that raises heritage poultry on pasture with organic feed, and if you pick it up fresh on processing day you pay less than at the market, where they sell it frozen and vacuum sealed. It's not cheap, and it's definitely pricier than at the grocery store, but I find it to be tastier, more filling, and the bones make an amazing homemade broth!

 

I don't put a lot of stock in grocery store organic eggs. Unfortunately, standards for organic certification aren't very stringent. For example, eggs can be certified organic while still grown on large-scale industrial settings, without meaningful access to pasture. To be organic, chickens need to have *access* to the outdoors. I remember reading in Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma that chickens are given access to the outdoors at 5 weeks, and killed at 7 weeks. During his visit to an industrial organic farm, he did not see a single chicken use the tiny door to go outside.

 

This Egg Scorecard might be useful in finding a decent source for eggs in your area, or learning more about it. http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-egg-scorecard/

 

Not sure where you live. I am in NC, and I pay $3 for a dozen eggs with my weekly CSA share, or 3.50-4.00 at the farmer's market.

 

A good source to find local foods in your area is Eat Wild and Local Harvest.

 

The only wild caught fish I buy is local, from the Carolina Coast or nearby rivers, from a local business I have grown to trust. I use Seafood Watch to keep track of which types of fish are sustainably harvested, as this changes every year. My one exception is that I also buy wild sockeye salmon (sustainable, but not local) at Trader Joe's.

 

As far as organic milk goes, I also buy that locally. When that is not available, I avoid Horizon Organic at all cost, but will by Organic Valley or Stonyfield.

post #4 of 24

Here is another useful article that helps explain what all the different labels can mean on a carton of eggs.

 

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/confinement_farm/facts/guide_egg_labels.html

post #5 of 24

Sigh...the egg scorecard had me excited. The only ones available where I live are Vital Farms eggs, which are 6.19 a dozen :(   The cheapest I've ever seen eggs here that are pastured/ethically raised is 4.50. I get them through my CSA for 5.00 a dozen, because the 4.50 is a rare thing that I've occasionally seen at farmer's markets. I don't often go to them anymore, because the prduce is always SOOO much more expensive than the grocery store or my CSA. It seems like anything "local"  or "grassfed" has increased in price so much over the last few years. The closest farm I could buy meat from is 1 1/2 hours away....maybe it's time to move :)

post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sundaya View Post

 The closest farm I could buy meat from is 1 1/2 hours away....maybe it's time to move :)

 

We used to do this when I lived in NJ. The two farms nearby that sold grassfed beef were either very expensive ($8/lb for ground beef), or not very good (not slaughtering at the right age). We had a group of 3 families that would take turns making the drive to a farm in PA  1 1/2 hours away that was cheaper, and very good quality, who raised chickens, cows, and pigs. We would buy enough to last us for 6 weeks, including eggs. Because we took turns, I only made the drive about twice each year, which wasn't so bad.

post #7 of 24
Get to know the source, ask questions, shop aroun, and, when you've found farmers you feel comfortable with, buy in bulk (especially if you get a discount for buying more). Invest in a freezer to keep meats good, and realize that the same farmer may not be good for all items. You may end up with one for beef and another for chicken.
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyssaneala View Post

 

We used to do this when I lived in NJ. The two farms nearby that sold grassfed beef were either very expensive ($8/lb for ground beef), or not very good (not slaughtering at the right age). We had a group of 3 families that would take turns making the drive to a farm in PA  1 1/2 hours away that was cheaper, and very good quality, who raised chickens, cows, and pigs. We would buy enough to last us for 6 weeks, including eggs. Because we took turns, I only made the drive about twice each year, which wasn't so bad.

I noticed prices were far lower in PA than in Northern NJ.  I paid 1/2 the price for farm peaches and other produce, free range eggs were sold at peoples houses for as little as $1.50 a dozen - they were pastured but perhaps not completely organic.   My local egg producer (free-range organic) started charging $5 a dozen.  1 1/2 hour drive each way could give me a nice re-sale business...  I think this is why so many people are starting to have their own chickens, big gardens the whole nine yards. 

post #9 of 24

I actually write a blog about eating locally, and I know a lot of farmers in my area. Prices do seem very expensive, but for those who raise animals to make a living off it, it is very, very labor-intensive and expensive. For example, the cost of organic, GMO free, soy-free chicken feed in our area is $2/pound!! And while our local heritage poultry farms chickens are 100% pastured, foraging and eating bugs to their heart's delight, that is supplemented by feed. For farmers choosing sustainable methods of raising animals, it gets quite costly.

 

Most local farmers I know (except for the ones whose family has farmed for generations) don't own their own land, but lease it from someone else, which is another cost. Organic certification is costly (which is why many don't bother with it but rely on word of mouth and building a loyal customer base). The cost of fuel is a huge expense, particularly for grassfed beef farms. The one that I buy from has 3 pastures, one for the mamas, babies, and one bull; another for the cows in-between, and a 3rd pasture for the 'finishers'. She is constantly transporting cattle between the three pastures (only one is owned by them, the other 2 are leased and located 20 minutes apart). Then there is the cost of transporting the cattle to the processor, bringing it all home, and transporting her products to the farmer's markets 50 miles away from her farm in Charlotte. Fuel and farm equipment is one of the biggest expenses for many farms in our area.

 

Then there is the cost of trial and error. There are a lot of people trying organic farming for the first time, or others who are making the switch from conventional to organic practices. Farmers are trying to raise new breeds to bring back diversity, both in plants and animals. All of these efforts to build a stronger community of sustainable farming practices are subject to more failures than through conventional methods. A coyote can sneak onto a farm and kill dozens of chickens in one night. A contagious disease can spread through a herd, which is treatable by antibiotics. Then those animals will never be sent to a processor if it is an organic farm. Different breeds thrive in different environments and situations; those farmers raising heritage and heirloom plants and animals truly are practically reinventing the wheel; so much has changed in the last 75 years that there is now very little information out there for farmers taking this approach (although it is getting better every year).

 

While many of the industrial farmers survive with the help of federal subsidies, farmers that cater to farmer's markets and locals aren't so lucky. I made the decision a few years ago that while it is more expensive, I prefer to spend my food dollars buying from local farmers using organic and sustainable methods. I make sacrifices in other areas (no cable, we don't go to the movies, we drive older cars), but know that I am feeding my family the healthiest, freshest food available, and supporting the local economy at the same time.

 

And now I will get off that soapbox.gif I tend to climb on to occasionally!
 

post #10 of 24

We have an organic farm.  It costs us way more to be organic on a per acre basis than it would to farm conventional.  Additionally the yield is not nearly so high as it would be conventionally.  So say the conventional corn market is $7/bu.  I really need to sell mine for $14 to stay in business.  So- those chickens that are eating my corn in their ration do get costly.  That said- we need a return on our investment the same as anyone else does.  So dairy for $8/gallon- totally fair.  Eggs for $4/dozen- still a great value.  THis is especially true considering that cash rent is $400/ac and we put on $250 worth of organic fertilizer, $3.50 diesel fuel, high dollar seed, $$$ spent on walking for weeds, and of course dealing with whatever nature throws at us....  Off my soap box now.

 

I do't buy anything grown in China.  Organic/wild caught/etc- it means NOTHING there.  Same with most imported so called 'organic'- with the exception of Canadian and EU.  I know a lot of processors who have purchased containers of grain from Russia/China/wherever that has been obvious crap- doesn't pass gmo tests and is filled with contaminates. There are coops you can order from for wild caught alaskan salmon.  Yes you do need a freezer and buy 1/4s or 1/2s or whole- it amazes me more people don't want to buy a $400 deep freezer- it pays for itself in no time :)I also get fruit in season and freeze and I also can a lot- it really saves a lot of money.  Of course fresh is always a nice treat in the winter- but not really necessary.

 

Yes there are large scale organic farms that aren't 'ideal' for the purist.  I guess it is up to the consumer to decide where they want to spend their money.  For example- I always believed that a 400 cow "organic' dairy was terrible until I met the face of Horizon's dairy farmers and had the opportunity to learn more about his operation- incredibly awesome and goes way beyond the standards set by the NOP.  

post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Maybe I should be a bit clearer, I'm of course all for farmers making a living wage and I do realize it's much more expensive to farm this way. However, we live about as minimally as we can (no cable or Netflix, no texting, no eating out, no new clothes or even used 'new' clothes, all our furniture was found on the side of the road and we buy literally nothing besides food and gas and even those are limited) yet we are still not able to make ends meet. So maybe my question should have been, is it worth falling even more behind each month (we'd be behind either way) to continue buying organic pastured products? At what point do you give up and just buy what you can afford?

(This was all much easier when I could live off rice & beans, which are dirt cheap, but I can't eat either now & am following a paleo-ish (+ dairy) diet which seems way more costly but is making a HUGE difference in my health!)
Edited by crunchy_mommy - 7/17/12 at 7:40pm
post #12 of 24

I spent years supporting local farmers, buying organic food, the whole nine yards.  Then my marriage ended and I went back to school and my income plummeted.  Right now I buy less organic.  I still eat all whole foods and lots and lots of produce most of the time.  I totally avoid all trans fats, most sugar, food dyes and that sort of thing.  I eat very little cheese so I don't buy organic, although it is a high fat food so maybe I should.  The last few weeks my job ended and realizing I might take a couple of months to get a new one, I even stopped buying organic chicken (never really eat beef) and organic milk. But my kids don't eat either of those things. I can shop in Trader Joes because it is close and at least they don't have any GMOs.  And their sprouted grain bread is only $3.29 or something.   I buy the marked down produce in the supermarket when I can use it. Sometimes it is organic.  Yesterday I bought a big bag of organic potatoes for $1.50. 

 

I have been told that meat and dairy are the most important things to buy organic.  Some fruits and vegetables are higher in pesticide residue than others.  And it changes from year to year.  Google the "dirty dozen".  I could afford the decent chicken if I only ate it a couple of times of week, and I do eat many meatless meals since both of my kids are vegetarian.  Farmers' markets now usually accept food stamps, although my income isn't quite low enough for food stamps. 

 

I would suggest that you look at what you eat the most of and calculate accordingly.  I do notice I don't feel as well having started with the regular supermarket chicken and eggs.  So I am thinking of switching back for eggs, milk (although probably not cheese as we just eat so little of it), and chicken.  I learned to make my own yogurt so can still have that organic when I start buying the organic milk again.  Produce I mostly buy non organic at the farmer's market from farmers that I know and the small local farmers don't usually just spray crap indiscriminately so I take my chances.  And if I hit very hard times, (like when my unemployment runs out), I will just eat the regular stuff and not worry about it.  Because hopefully it will be for a short term and 6 weeks of toxins won't reverse 20 years of organics... I hope!!!
 

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Maybe I should be a bit clearer, I'm of course all for farmers making a living wage and I do realize it's much more expensive to farm this way. However, we live about as minimally as we can (no cable or Netflix, no texting, no eating out, no new clothes or even used 'new' clothes, all our furniture was found on the side of the road and we buy literally nothing besides food and gas and even those are limited) yet we are still not able to make ends meet. So maybe my question should have been, is it worth falling even more behind each month (we'd be behind either way) to continue buying organic pastured products? At what point do you give up and just buy what you can afford?
(This was all much easier when I could live off rice & beans, which are dirt cheap, but I can't eat either now & am following a paleo-ish (+ dairy) diet which seems way more costly but is making a HUGE difference in my health!)

 

I mentioned this in another thread, but I definitely think it is better to eat conventional fruits and vegetables rather than none at all.

 

We were in a similar situation to you a few years ago, I ended up giving up all organic produce with the exception of milk and eggs. Rather than falling more behind financially, focus on eating the 'Clean 15', the fruits and vegetables with the least amount of pesticide residue. Some of the clean 15 also happen to be rather inexpensive to begin with (with the exception of mushrooms...which is on the list despite the fact it is a fungus, a whole different food category from fruits and vegetables...but I digress)

The current clean 15 are: mushrooms, watermelon, canteloupe, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, kiwi, eggplant, mangoes, asparagus, sweet peas, cabbage, avocado, pineapple, corn, & onions. I would also add banana to that list.

 

We ate very little meat during that time. Occasionally I would splurge on grassfed beef as a 'special treat'. Otherwise, we didn't eat beef at all. We did rely on rice/beans/pasta/asian noodles a lot during that time...it would have been a huge struggle for us to do it on a Paleo diet. hug2.gif

 

Another option, depending on your income, is to see if your region has a nonprofit that helps to increase access to organic food for marginalized and low-income groups. We have two where I live. One nonprofit has about 6 acres of land that was given to them to grow organic food that is *sold* for very, very low prices in parts of the city that are a food desert.

post #14 of 24

I would not eat non-organic corn from the market unless I knew the source of the seed.  Monsanto is trying to push a GMO sweet corn onto the market.

 

I'd back down on meat/ animal products if it were a matter of cash.  Not always easy: my allergies make it so I can't eat nuts, eggs, soy, peas, lentils, sesame, blah blah blah.

 

The other night we had a great, simple dinner (all organic) of onions and cabbage fried in bacon grease (Organic Prairie makes really fatty bacon--nice for collecting a stash of grease), pinto beans and hot sauce.  It's what we had in the fridge, and it was pretty good.  I know it will appear more regularly on the table.  

 

I've had trouble sourcing organic chicken I like.  The coop switched to a local company, and our chicken is far more expensive as a result.  I would love to buy this, but I liked the Rosie chicken before they replaced it, even though it was not pastured.  I will buy grass fed beef that is not organic over organic beef (organic beef is fed grain; grass fed has more omega 3).  It is expensive.  We eat less of it, and wish we could drop it even more but allergies make the diet monotonous already.  I try not to top the chicken in my burrito with my expensive pepperjack cheese.  I would prefer pastured chicken, but buying it is incredibly expensive.  I paid 25$ for one chicken the other day.  I need to gear up and raise my own.  Still not cheap, but then I'd know how they were raised, that they ate organic feed free of soy and corn (corn really should be used just for treats, IMO as a raiser of chickens--it's like candy to them) and wouldn't cost 25$ per bird after the first year.  

 

Before I gave up organic, I would look at my monthly food bill and see if there is anything I can cut out.  Snacks for example, beer.  I wouldn't make everything, but a few things are cheaper, easy and can distract little ones off of the store bought version, especially if they make it themselves.  (Granola seems monsterously overpriced, as does fruit leathers.)   Food waste is a huge money-muncher.

 

Organic really is that important to us, but finances need to come first if you are talking eventual catastrophic results.  If you are just saying ditching organic so I can spend more on discretionary spending, well, then I definitely would not.  I can't pretend that eating organic is cheaper than eating the same foods conventionally.  Our grocery bill is huge, but it is a priority for us.  If things became dire, yes, we would ditch the organics temporarily.  

 

Non-organic food is becoming increasingly scary to me, though some domestic foods have improved.  PCC, the Seattle natural foods coop, recently had an article about how much cleaner non-organic peaches, apples, cherries, cantaloupe, etc. are domestically compared to 10 years ago, due to discontinuing certain chemicals.

post #15 of 24

We're mostly veg, but dh isn't and in addition he's had reactions (gas, stomach pain, other TMI problems) to various meat/eggs/dairy which helps us prioritize which foodstuff to buy of which quality.

 

 

Of the things we buy only organic - eggs (we also get farm fresh high quality eggs from 2 sources, which are even better though not technically organic.  Those are around $2.50/doz and otherwise we pay $5/6 for 18?).  If dh ever buys ground beef - he usually gets that organic (this is very seldom, though).  Dh has serious reactions to other brands and qualities of eggs, so we don't change that.  The beef is usually a treat, so he wants something high quality.

 

 

We get high-quality from-our-farmer pork products & chicken (through a meat/egg CSA which we happened to find).  There are local non-homogonized milk and brand of chicken we'll also buy regularly that are not organic (but have a good reputation of high quality).  The milk is at least $0.50 less than organic and the chicken significantly cheaper than organic also.  We can also find a lot of kosher meats in our area, and sometimes dh will choose something like that (especially for stuff like hot dogs, similar types) over other grocery store options.  Certain stuff we get from butchers/markets and isn't organic (but more specialty - fresh sausage, smoked meats and the like).  

 

I only sometimes buy organic yogurt, and hardly ever organic cheese or butter.  IF I had to buy organic dairy, I'd do it for milk over the other dairy foods because milk is more likely to disagree with any of us than the other foods.  None of these we eat in large quantity (except perhaps yogurt, and sometimes butter) so if we're going to buy things organic as a treat it's usually either of those on occasion.  

post #16 of 24
The beef we buy is not officially organic, but I talked with the farmer's representatives extensively at the farmer's market. The farm is organic (the produce is certified) and the beef grass fed (not certified organic, but I'm comfortable that they are not using chemicals. We buy in large enough amounts to get an extra pound thrown in to top off the order.
post #17 of 24

Foods highest on the food chain have more pesticides so if you do pork or seafoods those would be more important,then ruminents, then produce.

 

We do conventional produce and get the best animal foods we can afford. We are very low-income too and have a daughter with extensive food intolerances who requires a pretty animal-heavy diet, so it can be frustrating sometimes but we just do the best we can. 

 

eatwild.com and localharvest.org are good resources to put you in touch with local farmers

 

do you have room for a garden? that would reduce cost at grocery store, leaving you more in the budget for animal foods

post #18 of 24

If you can find a local farmer who feeds his cattle grass instead of grain, that will be a lot better for you (and taste better.)  Sometimes the price can be comparable, too.  But if not, I wouldn't fall further behind on your budget right now.  Eat what you can afford.  

And I buy milk at the local dairy, because they don't use RBST.  But as long as I'm buying RBST-free milk, I don't feel like I have to buy organic milk, which is much more expensive.  (My dh said he noticed Walmart has started to carry RBST-free milk, too.)  

post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Maybe I should be a bit clearer, I'm of course all for farmers making a living wage and I do realize it's much more expensive to farm this way. However, we live about as minimally as we can (no cable or Netflix, no texting, no eating out, no new clothes or even used 'new' clothes, all our furniture was found on the side of the road and we buy literally nothing besides food and gas and even those are limited) yet we are still not able to make ends meet. So maybe my question should have been, is it worth falling even more behind each month (we'd be behind either way) to continue buying organic pastured products? At what point do you give up and just buy what you can afford?
(This was all much easier when I could live off rice & beans, which are dirt cheap, but I can't eat either now & am following a paleo-ish (+ dairy) diet which seems way more costly but is making a HUGE difference in my health!)

Sorry crunchy_mommy- I misunderstood.  I mean this honestly.  No it isn't worth falling behind.  Falling into debt over this ideal when there is plentiful and good quality conventional food available is crazy.  If I couldn't raise my own meat/dairy and couldn't afford to buy the equivalent I would totally buy conventional rather than go into debt for the ideal.  Your income will hopefully increase in the future making it possible for you to make different choices in what food you buy.

 

Organic is not necessarily grain fed.  My cows get a little grain- mostly oats- just to keep them good and tame and spoiled.  But I know a lot of organic growers who are only grass-fed.  

 

FYI- 80% of conventional sweet corn is BT.....  

post #20 of 24

Few more thoughts:  I think about how we're planning on eating the foods too, sometimes, when I'm needing to conserve the money and making my choices.  If I'm making an egg heavy dish that's mainly for dh (with his intolerances) I get the more expensive eggs.  If we're planning on making soft boiled eggs or something similar, where they'll be less cooked - I get the more expensive ones .  If I'm making something that isn't egg dominant, I might get the free range but not organic eggs and save a dollar, say if I'm baking them in cookies or something.  I don't get the totally conventional cheap eggs because they disagree with all of us.  If we're low on cash for groceries and I'm going to want them for my breakfasts (but dh won't really need to eat them) I'll also get the cheaper ones.  If I can't afford the cheaper realm of higher quality eggs, we just don't get them.  

 

Same kind of thing with milk - cultured dairy (like cheeses, yogurt, sour cream) rarely bother us so we don't often get those organic unless it's cheaper or only marginally more expensive (less than a dollar more, say).  If I know I'll be cooking with the milk in the first place, there are times I've gotten non-organic milk and not even our non-homogonized kind (and save like $2).  That's rare, and usually around the holidays when we'll also have guests who will probably drink it up anyway too.    

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