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Organic conundrum

656 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Annais
I apologize if there is a post about this already, but I just wanted some help!

I try to buy everything organic...but it is getting to be prohibitively expensive to do so! Whole Foods produce is beautiful, but so dang expensive. We are on a very limited income since I left work when dd was born. do you mamas committed to organic food but who live on a limited budget do it? CSAs in my area are too expensive, too, unfortunately. Are there things that you will only buy organic, and others that you can get away with not? Did that question even make any sense?

Any input would be greatly appreciated!!!! TIA!
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I have read that the most important things to buy organic are strawberries, spinach and bell peppers. So now I only buy the organic version of these. Good organic strawberries can be hard to find but I hate thinking of all the fungicides on the regular ones. The last organic strawberries I got were at Wild Oats--16 oz containers were 2 for $5. They were so good and flavorful!

I try to buy all organic stuff anyway since we tend to go out to eat a lot and I keep hoping if I spend a lot of money on groceries I'll be tempted to never go out to eat again. It doesn't seem to work.

My only other thought is that maybe you could grow some of your own stuff. But that is easier said than done, at least for me. You could try sprouting various things and eating more sprouts than veggies.

If I buy regular apples and cucumbers, I always peel them first.

Do you have regular grocery stores that carry pesticide free produce that isn't organic? One of the big chains here does that. I figure that's better than nothing.
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We didn't join our CSA this year because they changed the structure and we couldn't afford it, but we are growing our own food (although a gopher ate a bunch of it last week
). We also stock up at sales at the health food store. We REALLY stock up. For example, when organic oats are .59 lb, I buy a ton and put it in the freezer.

We also make as much food as possible to save money. I make our muesli for breakfast and although it is still expensive compared to generic cornflakes, I save money and it's much healthier.

We try for everything to be organic now, although I admit that while some non-organic food comes into our house (like price chopper vine rippened spaghetti sauce), we don't allow anything with hydrogenated fat or high fructose corn syrup.
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What I can't get in organic, I try to get at least "all natural". For example, organic chicken is $7 a pound at giant eagle...but free range, no antibiotic, all natural chicken is $3 a lb....we go for the free range all natural stuff since we can afford that. We try to get all natural fruits and veggies, but you're right...those are hard to find sometimes! Do you know of any fruit/veggie stands or farmer's markets that you could buy from (if you knew how/where the stuff was grown)?
Whole Foods is a crazy rip-off when it comes to organic produce. Not only does much of their stuff come "NOT" from local places but from far away or from another country, but it also costs a huge amount. It gives everyone the impression that organic food HAS to be that expensive, when it doesn't.

Here's a perfect example:

Organic grapes at WF cost $5.99/lb Is that crazy or what? I thought it was so I went to the El Cerrito Natural Food store, which has ALL organic produce instead of the 1/5 that WF does, all from local sources, and what do you know! It's only $2.59/lb

That makes a HUGE difference. I have examples like this for many types of produce. So my advice is to seek out a smaller HFS that buys more locally - it's fresher and tends to be much cheaper, plus to help to support smaller farmers.

Also - if you have a farmer's market anywhere near you, their organic prices also tend to be 1/2 to 1/3 of what WF charges. Like 2 pints of strawberries for $3 rather than $3.50 a pint.
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There was another thread on this a few weeks ago. Try this link: Organic thread

When it comes to produce, I try to focus on the most pesticide-laden produce, as listed here:

We are in a similar situation. Money is extremely tight, but I want to feed my family well without feeling like I am poisening my children. I told dh the other day that I almost wish I could go back to not knowing what I do now regarding healthy eating. Some of the things we do to make it work are to avoid buying convenience foods, making pretty much everything from scratch, not wasting food (i.e. not letting produce sit in the fridge until it goes bad, eating all leftovers, giving the kids small portions and then offering seconds if needed, etc), planning my meals around what is on sale, eating smaller portions and not snacking all day, focusing on the kids getting organic, even if it means dh and I eat "conventional" foods. We were also able to locate an organic food co-op in our area that is saving us a little $. Also, in contrast to what PikkuMyy has found in her area, Whole Foods in our area has better prices on organic and natural food items than smaller local stores. I was surprised. I am going to visit a farmers market in the next town over and see if they offer more organic at better prices.

It is a difficult situation, but I have learned so much here about eating healthy on a budget. The pay-off of having healthy children will be worth the struggle. It is late now and it is becoming imposible to be coherent, so ignore whatever doesn't make sense in this post.
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Thank you! And thanks for the links, too.
They're very helpful.
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