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I've been debating this in my head for a while now, and danged if I know. It would be nice if I could have both locally grown and organic, but for many things, it just doesn't happen in my area. I love to garden, but didn't get around to it this year, plus, I'm not near good enough to grow very much at a time.

If you had to make a choice, which would be more important to you and why?

If I buy locally in season, it hasn't been shipped in cold storage and picked prematurely (so it could be shipped here from Washington or Chile), but it has probably been sprayed with pesticides or herbacides. If I buy organic it has probably been grown more ethically, but it's usually packaged in some major packaging for it's size (two bell peppers in a styrofoam plate with saran over it), and/or shipped from far away places. What to do...
 

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I'd buy local at a farmer;s market and look for the signs that say "no sprays."
 

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In terms of environmental impact, the locally grown stuff would probably be better. It might even be better nutritionally sometimes, because unless there's a really high demand, non-local organic produce can go bad pretty fast...sometimes before you buy it. I've bought organic salad mixes from the store that are rotting in the bag.
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I choose locally grown. We're lucky enough that that also means organic, but the environmental impact of transporting food thousands of miles is too great to choose organic over local. If it means peeling a non-organic apple, so be it. But we'd still buy local as much as possible.

Oh, the exception is raisins and peanuts--I always buy those organic if possible--organic peanut butter is easy to find, though I often can't find organic peanuts, sadly. But neither item is grown locally here anyhow!
 

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definately seasonal/local! the food is better for you. produce that travels far is therefore older and has lost vitamins/nutrients/etc. you'd be surprised how many small market growers are close to or actually do grow organic. we are market gardeners who do grow organically and let people know but i've been surprised at the number of growers at our market who also grow organically (even if they don't care about organic...) but they do so because they have small gardens and garden the way their parents did...

plus, you keep the money in your community...
 

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I go with seasonal/local. It just tastes SOOOO much better! I need to get better with gardening so that it can be seasonal/local AND organic!
 

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Veganf, why do you want organic peanuts/peanut butter? I'm curious because that's the one thing I actively avoid eating organic, because of the aflatoxins (It's a case of me thinking a natural substance that turns up in a crop is worse than the pesticide residue that I generally want to avoid). There isn't, as far as I know, any "organic" way to control the fungus that produces aflatoxin. But if organc peanut farming practices have advanced in the past few years, it would make me a very happy girl. I miss peanut butter.
 

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Herausgeber -- How do pesticides affect aflatoxins?

I don't eat peanut butter because of the high phytic acid content and I miss it too. I suppose I would eat it now and then but I don't keep it around.
 

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Aflatoxins are produced by a mold that grows naturally in the peanuts. Conventional farmers use fungicides to control it. There haven't traditionally been any reliable organic ways to treat it, so organic peanut butter has a far greater concentration of this naturally occuring, extremely potent human carcinogen than the stuff made from conventionally grown peanuts. In general, freshly ground and "natural" peanut butter has the highest concentration of all, because of how it's handled. The big commercial brands don't taste very good to me, though, so I just wind up skipping peanut butter entirely. True nuts don't have this problem, so I just eat almond and cashew butters.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Herausgeber
Aflatoxins are produced by a mold that grows naturally in the peanuts. Conventional farmers use fungicides to control it. There haven't traditionally been any reliable organic ways to treat it, so organic peanut butter has a far greater concentration of this naturally occuring, extremely potent human carcinogen than the stuff made from conventionally grown peanuts. In general, freshly ground and "natural" peanut butter has the highest concentration of all, because of how it's handled. The big commercial brands don't taste very good to me, though, so I just wind up skipping peanut butter entirely. True nuts don't have this problem, so I just eat almond and cashew butters.
Wow, I didn't know about this! Is the "natural" but *not* organic peanut butter free of aflatoxin? That's usually what I buy since the organic is so much more expensive. I would buy the organic when it went on sale, however. Guess I won't bother with that anymore! (Unless organic growers have developed a treatment.)
 

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In reply to the OP, I generally go for the locally grown, but for foods that are known to have high pesticide residues (such as strawberries) I still go for organic even if it isn't local. Not that I *never* eat conventionally grown local strawberries, but I limit the amount and try to get some organic too. Especially since my kids can easily polish off a pound of fresh strawberries in one sitting!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by luv my 2 sweeties
Wow, I didn't know about this! Is the "natural" but *not* organic peanut butter free of aflatoxin? That's usually what I buy since the organic is so much more expensive. I would buy the organic when it went on sale, however. Guess I won't bother with that anymore! (Unless organic growers have developed a treatment.)
There's a problem with the "natural" stuff, too, but it has to do with how well it's been handled and what temperature it has been at during various stages of storage. To be clear, ALL peanuts and peanut products contain aflatoxin. It's a question of how much.

My information about this is based on stuff I studied in college (my agronomy undergrad is 7 years old at this point, and I haven't been working in ag business since then). Things could have changed, of course.
 

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I go for local/seasonal wherever possible; and we're really really lucky in that a lot of the local farmers markets have producers selling organic food - some of it isn't certified, but these are people that I've gotten to know over the past few years, and I trust them. If I can't get something I will buy organic in preference to the fruits/veggies that are notoriously bad for pesticide residue...
 

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Herausgeber -- so I guess this means that conventional peanut butter is also lower in mold. Peanut butter may top my list of "oh what a shame." The creaminess and richness and all the reasons we shouldn't eat it.
 

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I try to eat seasonally/locally, but in the winter that's not always easy. I can't wait till we get a home where we can build a cellar to store veggies over the winter, and have some land that we can cultivate.

This year I want to get in to canning again. A friend of mine offered me to use her mother's pressure canner too
I'll use all local veggies of course. About to start a thread on that actually...
 

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Another vote for seasonal/local over organic. I'd much rather eat something that was produced locally than something that has to be shipped from 2000 miles away.
 

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Yet another seasonal/local, when I can. If I'm paying a premium for food, I want to know the money is going as directly as possible to the producer. And I'm a big believer in making my community more self-sufficient. Also, with local food I can find out why something isn't certified organic. Often it's because of a minor technicality or for something I don't feel too strongly about.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Herausgeber
Veganf, why do you want organic peanuts/peanut butter? I'm curious because that's the one thing I actively avoid eating organic, because of the aflatoxins (It's a case of me thinking a natural substance that turns up in a crop is worse than the pesticide residue that I generally want to avoid). There isn't, as far as I know, any "organic" way to control the fungus that produces aflatoxin. But if organc peanut farming practices have advanced in the past few years, it would make me a very happy girl. I miss peanut butter.

I used to work at a food coop in the produce section. We had a big poster on the wall detailing which foods were "green light" (low pesticide residue), "yellow light", and "red light", in order to help customers gauge which foods are most important to buy organic.
Raisins and peanuts had their own category above and beyond "red light". Apparently when tested these two items yielded literally hundreds of different pesticides, probably due to the long growing time for peanuts, and the long drying time for sun-dried raisins. I don't know what is done to control pests organically for these foods nowadays. But I assume it's better than a few hundred pesticides/herbicides/fungicides. So when given a choice, I always buy those two items organic. I usually buy Whole Kids store brand, since I like the taste.

- Krista
 

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Another vote for local. We're fortunate that we have Mennonite and Amish farmers within relative close vicinity, so I can get "organic" food that way. I just always ask. I guess they could lie, but I'm trusting.
 
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