I've been reading a lot about organic foods. We've already started buying mostly organic produce, but I'm finding out that it is probably more important for our animal products to be organic. I'm realizing how much I have to learn about all this, but I want to start making the change and not keep waiting. I'm mostly worried that we're going to spend so much more money. Does anyone have tips about how to start buying organic meat, dairy, and eggs? Where to buy them, etc? I'm thinking we'll start simple and just buy organic eggs and some chicken for this week, because I think chicken is probably the cheapest meat, even though if it's organic it will be more expensive. If we want to make this change, is it best to join a coop? I don't know anything about how to do this, so I'm going to start buying at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, them look into coops in the area.
Also, isn't it true that food at a local farmer's market or coop might be local, but might not be organic, and even if I go to a local market, I have to search for specifically organic? I'd like to also eventually buy raw dairy, but I totally am clueless about how to do that, so I'll start with one thing at a time.
For eggs, I'd start buying free range, organic feed. I like the ones with DHA in the feed because it is more bioavailable than supplements. If you can find truly pastured ones, so much the better.
For milk, Whole Foods uses good quality suppliers for their private label. You always want pasturized vs. UHT or ultra-pasturized. I prefer to prefer a local brand though because private label suppliers can change. Avoid anything with DHA added (hexane derived) or ultra-pasturized or out of state like Horizon. Cornocopia rates dairies if you are interested.
For meat, you have to decide if you care more about organic (usually grain finished) or grass fed (sometimes has some grain) and or if you will accept both. WF has really decent standards compared to other places and we can often buy http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/department/article/animal-welfare step four at the largest stores. If you want truly pastured meat, then you'll need a small supplier. But really, based on a lot of um, highly variable quality, you'll want to start small before you make a large committment to any one farmer.
Personally, I feel more comfortable with a small farm and ongoing dialog, rather than a chain of farms like Whole Foods uses. If one of them makes a change, I could suffer. Maybe it's different for me, since this is not a choice, but a necessity because of food allergies.
Edited to add : By chemical free, I mean the entire farm is chemical free, and their produce is certified organic. They do not want to pay for organic certification of the beef or milk, because they would have to charge more for those items. I am satisfied that the entire farm is run without chemicals and therefore 'organic' without the certification.
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