Are You Still Willing To Pay?


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How many of you buy organic produce? 

What do you buy?

I don’t buy everything organic and wouldn’t call myself a food purist in any sense.  However, I have made a conscience effort to look into which fresh fruits and vegetables are treated with high levels of pesticides when farmed.  I choose to stick with the organic versions of these products whenever possible.

However, it can be expensive.  I have many friends who have indicated organic foods were the first things cut out of their grocery budgets as the economic climate worsened. 

In my own research, I found conventional farming to treat the following products with higher than normal amounts of pesticide so I buy organic.

On my list:

Pears
Lettuce
Apples
Carrots
Celery
Strawberries
Peaches
Bell Peppers

Yes, it’s a small list, but since we eat these foods often, I feel it makes a difference as far as healthy choices are concerned.

Did I miss any obvious and common fresh foods you feel should be on my organic list?

I’m also curious about raw, organic sugar.  Does anyone use it regularly for baking?  How is it?

Wow.  That’s a lot of questions, but I need to know.

What I Was Cooking Up One Year Ago Today:  Egg-cellent Easter Eats…Episode lll

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83 Comments

  1. Diane 1

    Some of the foods you list you could be growing yourself. The fruit trees you plant now are an investment in the future – and well worth it. I’ve got an allotment now and it’s got some well established fruit trees that I’m really looking forward to picking the fruit from.
    I might even plant some lettuce today!

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  2. Hilary 2

    Hi Cathy .. good post .. & Diana good ideas too .. I’ve started buying from a local shop (new recently), which buys local produce .. & there’s a pick your own .. all things .. herbs, salads, veg, fruit .. which I use: good place to have a walk too – when it opens full time at Easter. They stock good quality frozen foods too .. which I use selectively in addition to my fresh produce. Being single my needs are for good food, small quantities ..hence the frozen stocks as a back up.

    Thanks – I hope you get lots of responses … Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy

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  3. Since we produce all our eggs ( with the help of the chickens) and grow our own fruit and many vegetables and raise bees for our own honey, always fall harvested venison for the freezer …that leaves produce and meat we don’t raise and No, I don’t buy organic. I guess because I am not sure organic is so much better that it is worth the added money to buy it.

    We have decided to resume raising our own fryers and eating our own lambs again though, but because we know we do produce good, healthy, and no added antibiotics, hormones, etc.meat and it is affordable for us.

    Maybe if we did not have the option to raise our own food it would be a choice I would opt for, but when money is tight, food,affordable food becomes the focus. Affordable food that leaves maybe enough money left over to pay the mortgage and fuel bill.

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  4. deeba 4

    i wish I could grow my own, & am terribly envious of the lady who has home produced eggs. Pure bliss, & comfort in the knowledge that all good does into those you love. Organic food is prohibitively expensive in India, & still very much the rich man’s choice (maybe I’ll be rich enough one day!!). I’ve just been contacted through a local organic dairy farmer, & I hope to begin buying from his place soon. You are on the right track Cathy!!

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  5. While the economy is being crappy the only organic item I still buy is peanut butter…I love it.

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  6. I have started to use Sucanat – which is just organic dehydrated cane juice – in my baking! I can’t tell a difference, which is great! I always buy organic milk and eggs but will have to start looking at my fruit and veggie choices too. Thanks for the info!

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  7. ntsc 7

    We buy most produce at a local shop which is mostly organic and when possible local. They sit on 200+ acres and are the last working farm in the county. However they aren’t open January and February.

    We will also be doing more gardening this year and the grapes should be producing well this year. We have some stone fruit trees and I would put up more local things like that, but we use less fruit than we should and my wife prefers fresh.

    We try and do wild not farmed fish, but most of the meat other than pork is factory food. However we have cut way back on the use of red meat even if it is part of every dinner, well some meat, fish or fowl is.

    Price is definitely a concern, although we do watch quality more than price. We have a lot of freezer (try 45 cubic feet) and watch for sales.

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  8. We don’t have many options for organic unless we travel a good distance. At my “downscale” grocery store, I can get organic spinach and romaine and I buy those and feel better than I do when I eat the non-organic versions. I’ve purchased organic apples and artichokes when visiting our son at his upscale grocery. We keep bees, have family members and friends who have raise chickens, get venison from friends and family who hunt (I rarely buy beef), etc. I think you do the best you can and sometimes we don’t have any more guarantee that organic is better. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that true organic is better, but I am not always sure of the practices followed before a product is labeled “organic.” With some products that I’ve eaten that are organic, I can tell immediately. For others, I am not so sure. There is a great organic place on the way to our mtn property and we often stop there and purchase, but the price of a small bag of potatoes even can knock your socks off.

    Haven’t used the raw, organic sugar. Trying to use our honey more and more for baking and as the sweetener in other recipes.

    Shirley

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  9. I have a friend who’s battling a breast cancer recurrence. Her oncologist advises if you can only buy one thing organically, do dairy. He feels it makes a big difference. I always buy organic milk. I haven’t switched to organic cheeses, but I want to…it’s just that whole expensive thing. :-)

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  10. pam 10

    I get most of my produce from a CSA, which is all organic. Even though it costs $750 up front, that works out to about $25 a week, which is very reasonable for what we receive.

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  11. I also focus on organic fruits/vegetables. I like to buy organic mushrooms if I can. And granola/cereal bars.

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  12. The only thing I always buy that’s organic is milk. Very bad on my part.

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  13. I buy organic spinach and am looking into organic potatoes since I like to eat the skin. I eat so much spinach! I would like to try to grow a few things myself- tomatoes, peppers and herbs. We always buy organic milk as we can go thru a gallon every two days. I like to wash my fruit with a veggie wash as well, got mine at Trader Joe’s. I think it helps but I have not looked into the science of it.

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  14. dawn 14

    I love the raw sugar when baking scones.
    We do a lot of organic eating in this house because all the research I did (like you) I was just disgusted with how much even just one pesticide can do so much damamge to your body. Those pesticides never leave your body unless you do a heavy duty detox and even then it might not be successful. Those pesticides just hang on to your cells like cement, literally.

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  15. I have read that grapes are over treated.
    Raisins are concentrated and even worse.

    I think shopping carefully and eating all your produce before it goes bad is economical.
    I can’t tell you how many grapefruits I have thown away. Not economical :o(

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  16. Bunny 16

    I think a lot people will be planting they’re own gardens this year to get as much produce as they can with out paying the outragous prices at the store. My mom who is 74 yrs old said last summer her friends were planting victiory gardens like they did yrs ago.

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  17. I didn’t read all the comments, because Sweet Jeebus Cathy you get a lot, so I don’t know if anyone mentioned this yet, but have you looked into a delivery service? I’m not sure if they offer it in your area, but we use DoorToDoorOrganics.com here on the East Coast and they deliver fresh organic produce at excellent prices! You can choose your size of box, frequency of delivery, and often they let you sub items out if available.

    Maybe there’s something similar in your area?

    No, I don’t work for them; I just really love them. Makes a busy working mom’s life much easier.

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  18. I buy organic herbs, apples, leeks, potatoes, carrots and leeks. I don’t worry about citrus because we don’t eat the skin although I do wash it well if I’m zesting it.

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  19. Steph 19

    We usually buy organic only when the price difference isn’t such a big difference with the regular produce/meats. I can see how it can be healthier, however I think sometimes we take it too far (just like certain low fat desserts… yogurt or applesauce is not butter or oil). Sometimes I wonder if the labelled fruit or vegetable is organic. I’ve seen some pretty large ‘organic’ oranges.

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  20. Barbie with a T 20

    I have never given organic veggies and fruit a second thought just because they seem so darned expensive compared to the farmer’s market fresh veggies that I buy. Raw sugar….we do not use sugar very much anyway, so I see no reason for buying raw or organic sugar.
    If I got started into buying organic foods, I am afraid, I would turn into a fanatic and miss out on a lot of things that I like to experiment with. Our stores here are so limited in organic produce and organic products, that I go for the variety rather than the organic.

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  21. My local grocery store doesn’t have a large selection of organic fruits & vegetables, so I don’t really buy too much of them.

    However, there is a local farm in my town that you can buy from. I’ve been thinking of going there during the growing season to see what they have to offer. I’d like to buy from them because it’s only a 5 minute drive from my house & it’s run by a woman. Plus I think the produce would be super fresh and tasty.

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  22. Sara 22

    I buy organic when it’s not significantly more expensive than buying conventional. I also try to buy free range chicken whenever possible.

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  23. I will be planting a garden soon and canning as much as possible in the Fall.
    I also planted some herbs in pots for the house. But I am looking into planting them outside. Just gonna see how it goes.
    I can’t add to your list. Organic at the store is too costly. But I will be checking out our local farmers to see what they are offering and at what prices. I am assuming it will be cheaper than the grocer.

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  24. Katie 24

    We buy most of our vegetable and fruits organic except for those which you don’t eat the peel. Also all of our meet and dairy products are either organic or as close to organic as we can find. I recently signed up to have a local farm actually deliver grass fed meats to my door once a week, it is actually cheaper than what we are spending at the grocery store.

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  25. Scott 25

    I have thought twice about purchases at the supermarket lately but there are a few things that I will continue to buy organic regardless of price.

    Lettuces, apples, carrots, celery, strawberries, milk, eggs, and bread (100% whole wheat/grain of course!)

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  26. I really need to be better out this–I buy organic occasionally, but w/ no rhyme or reason. Does wahing the non-organic food well make any differnence?

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  27. I don’t buy anything organic unless it’s a coincidence. I’m trying not to buy into the fear marketing & honestly cannot afford organic food. Perhaps my mind will change someday when I have a family, but for now I’m okay with continuing to eat the way I have for 28 years.:)

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  28. I’m trying my hand at growing some of our favorites myself. I hope to expand in the coming years. The “organics” section of our local markets are not that big. I’m hoping they expand soon.

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  29. Liz C. 29

    I’m pretty much right there with you, but I also buy organic celery. All of the organics here are VERY expensive, but I figure it’s worth it in the long run.

    Raw organic sugar is all I use for coffee & the rare times I make sweets of any kind. The hubby wants me to use Splenda but I don’t like it, nor do I have any faith in the fact that it’s supposedly better for you.

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  30. melissa 30

    We grow our own berries and put up enough for the winter. We try hard to buy organic but in the winter it sometimes is not possible. We are one and a half hours to a Whole Foods or whatever it’s called. Our local one is too expensive.
    We use only raw organic sugar. With the exception of some deserts and fillings that do not get heated. The sugar does not dissolve well. I used it in whoopee pie filling and it was like eating sand.

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  31. Marjie 31

    My milkman delivers organic milk – non-homogenized, so it separates – but I don’t buy organic. We do grow some veggies, and buy from farmers locally in summertime, but I’m not about to spend the vast quantity extra money for organic foods. I just clean my produce well with a water & vinegar mix, rinse well, and “go with the flow”, as they say.

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  32. To answer your q: I buy Organic Milk and 1/2 and 1/2. I have kids.. and they are little growing filters…I owe it to them! There is too much cancer in our society from processed and ‘poisoned’ foods… We raise our own meat and eggs (and sell them) so I know those things are clean…and we have apple trees. And I do a garden every now and then.. Lettuce is easy to grow w/o chemicals! Just cover it.. And, I buy natural and organic when I can!!! It is not that big of a price difference… I think eating out and fancy coffees are bigger wastes of money.. OH.. and we buy organic coffee..

    Now.. In America, our food is cheap.. And Organic is cheap. There are worse things you can spend your money on and I’ll bet you do!
    This is something near and dear to my heart and way of life… We are producers that raise natural grass fed and finished lamb and beef. And we sell at Farmers Markets.
    NOT ALL FOOD available at Farmers Markets is Organic or raised with Organic Methods! Those of you that shop at Farmers Markets – ask the question.. Do they use commercial pesticides or herbicides? Make sure it is in writing… That they back it.
    Asparagus is heavily doped….so add that to your list…
    Oh.. and don’t get me started on Natural Chickens… We toured a natural chicken farm… supposed ‘free range chickens’ and a ‘supposed’ expert in the field. It was GROSS!!! It was actually setup around a rundown house.. The yard was converted to chicken pens..and turkeys.. They were in different ‘penned in yards’ and not one yard had water in the water feeders… I was so disgusted… And this producer sells to Co-ops and has a label…
    So.. not all the so called ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ or ‘free range’ food you are buying is up to snuff either….
    Your best bet? Buy direct from a producer.. ask to see their place…or grow your own.

    OK.. I’m getting off my soapbox! GREAT discussion!

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  33. Brian 33

    We have several farmers markets where I live for local organic produce. They are not open year round, but we try to support the local farmers when we can.

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  34. Trisha 34

    I am bad – horrible – terrible. I don’t do organic. Hubby and I will probably end up with all kinds of chemical related illnesses.

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  35. johnjoy316 35

    I find I can use a little less when using Sucanat. Another is Blue Agave, great for cereal but again I use less than regular table sugar.
    If you can’t afford all organic wash and peel helps.

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  36. Mary 36

    I continue to do organic dairy as well as broad leaf vegetables. We grow most of our produce in the summer and do a lot of canning and freezing.

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  37. ilyanna 37

    I buy organic, but less for the supposed health reasons (I don’t trust labeling mostly because it’s so unregulated) but because I believe if we create demand, then supply will follow. Once we’ve established supply, then we can begin to demand more accountability and standardization in the standards. Yes, I’m a geek.

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  38. erin 38

    I would ideally love to buy all organic (with the exception of a few things that have to be processed anyways like crackers, etc. so it doesn’t make a difference)but yes, it does come with a price. My dream is to be a part of an organic CSA. As stated in a previous comment, it is beneficial to shop local, but many vendors at Farmers Markets are not fully organic, some not even close to it.
    I do most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s, where organic they seem to try and go organic wherever they can, and its very affordale. I only buy items I can’t get at TJ’s or Henry’s (local natural foods store) at a large chain grocer. I can’t always afford organic but do always try at get non-hormone/antibiotic meat and dairy, and at least free range chicken. So, I do what I can, but we live on pretty much one income so its not quite always possible to go organic. That’s the goal, though!

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  39. Marci 39

    Spinach and potatoes also tend to pick up a lot of pesticide.

    I do use an organic delivery service for basics (spinach, lettuce, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, onions, garlic), but not all of my non-staples are organic. Most fruits and veggies with tough skins, like bananas and avocados, don’t pick up a lot of pesticide, and sometimes the organic versions of other fruits and veggies are either way too expensive or impossible to find. I do always buy organic berries.

    I haven’t really started to buy organic dairy or meat, although if the price is similar I will.

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  40. Pam 40

    This is why I love Trader Joe’s. They have organic foods without the HUGE price tag.

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  41. I wish I could say I was totally organic…I mean, I wanna be! But the only thing I buy organic is eggs…and I wonder if that’s really true. I do buy from local farmers in the summer, here on Long Island we have easy access to all local produce for all but the winter months. But are THEY using pesticides? I really don’t know. My questions are: if there really is a difference healthwise and can you wash off the pesticides…from like apples and pears? Oh and the asparagus comment? I eat it ALL the time…one of my most fav veggies! I think I should be scared. I have to do research now. If I could plant a large veggie garden, have room for fruit trees, and raise chickens for eggs, I would do it in a heartbeat. As it is now I just have a small veggie garden and grow my tomatoes and basil…absolute must haves for the summer. I couldn’t raise animals for meat though…sorry, but once they lived with me they become pets (even if they live outside) and I couldn’t eat them. I do however have a freezer full of venison from my hubs fall buck…I guess I could try to acquire a taste for it if it’s healthier than the ground beef I buy at the supermarket. Wow, so much to consider. Looks like I’ll be busy now!

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  42. Debbie 42

    We always purchase organic dairy products and almost always purchase free range non-biotic meats from our very large farmer’s market. We also purchase from our CSA.

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  43. leftfoot 43

    I actually buy my vegetables and fruit from a local farmer’s market co-op or from the organic produce shop down the street from me. (it depends on how much time and $$ I have to spend because the farmer’s market is much less expensive.) I don’t get into the whole “organic” thing as much as most. Fresh, yes. Paying an extra $1-4 a pound for fruit and vegetables? No. Growing up, thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables was ingrained in me from a young age and I’m very fond of the fruit hybrids which aren’t on the official list of organics. Also, the word organic is so misused, at least here in Florida.

    Personally, I’m more concerned about supporting my local economy than not washing my fruit and vegetables.

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  44. Rebel 44

    Anything you eat in it’s simpler natural state is better for you. I think they are tryin’ to poison us. All the additives and preservatives, Yuck! Not to mention the artificial sweeteners that they’ve brainwashed people into believin’ that it’s better than natural sugar. And MSG, Who wants holes in their brain? No wonder alzheimers is a problem. They are now tellin’ us that aspartame is causin’ or directly linked to MS, anyone for a diet soda?
    Did you know that most foreign countries won’t eat our food?
    You’re on the right track and it’s crazy that organic is so expensive, when there is no reason to be. We should rebel I tell ya. LOL

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  45. Leslie 45

    Because of money issues I stopped buying organic produce. However I STILL purchase ONLY organic, meat eggs cheese and milk. The hormones freak me out a bit more than the pesticides.

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  46. leftfoot 46

    Oh also, meats and seafoods. In Florida, I don’t ever have to worry about farmed seafoods. With all of out water, if it’s not local I don’t need to eat it. I remember living in NYC and getting Florida Mahi for $40 a plate. Here you can get it for $17.

    For meats eggs, I use a local butcher who co-ops with 7 different farms. The meat is always incredibly fresh and tasty.

    For me, food has always been about how it tastes and not necessarily how it’s grown. Milk fed veal is fantastic. “Organic” veal that I’ve had has had a different texture and loss of flavor. I’m sorry but free range veal isn’t nearly as tender. Do I like to think about the poor baby cows in a very small pen? No. Do I prefer the taste? Yes.

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  47. snowmoonelk 47

    milk and cheese and butter (dairy produce, basically)!

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  48. Chinya 48

    Hi Cathy

    I am a horrible gardener but I was really good at growing strawberries and bell peppers! They are cheap and organic. Just have to make sure that your soil is good and I had to keep chicken wire around the strawberries for all the sneaky squirrels. We too eat a ton of the same items…we frequent the farmer’s market (but ask to make sure there are no pesticides) and try to grow whatever we can to save money.

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  49. Alisa 49

    I spent a lot of time last summer stressing over organic. I refuse to allow myself to stress. We have a garden in the spring and buy organic when it is comparable price wise. I just do what I can.

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  50. Jessica 50

    I try to buy organic when I can. But, I find that local produce is often farmed in organic friendly ways, but often lack the money to get the label “organic.” However, on a consistent basis, I try to buy organic grass fed beef and organic free range chicken as I believe in raising animals humanely as well as hormone free and pesticide free. I also buy organic milk as I’ve heard from several sources, although I can’t remember who, stating that organic milk is one of the top organic items to purchase.

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  51. tipper 51

    I’ve never used the sugar. My thoughts are like Alisa’s. We grow a garden each year-and preserve as much of it as we can. Through the winter I try to buy organic-but sometimes it does come down to the price and organic is very expensive in my area.

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  52. I think you got most of the “dirty dozen” on your list. I definitely try to follow that list as best as I can, since I have two toddlers with growing bodies and minds to watch out for. God knows there are enough things to deal with than to add chemicals and pesticides to the list! I have also tried baking with raw sugar and had a positive turnout. However, I would love to know if there is a “rule” for substitution with it on a consistent basis.

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  53. I buy all organic fruit and vegetables. And all dairy as well. I an tell a difference.

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  54. dawn 54

    I always buy organic peaches, strawberries, nectarines, lettuce and kale. So many chemicals go into producing these conventionally. It is expensive but little by little if we all support these farmers prices should come down.

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  55. Leslie 55

    i’m on a student budget, so i definitely have to watch how much money i spend on food. still, i’m a big time enviro, so i buy organic whenever it isn’t ridiculous to do so. i ALWAYS buy organic celery because i read somewhere that it has the most chemicals in it because it just sucks up everything in the water.

    i’ve found i can get more bang for my buck by getting whatever i can at the farmer’s market. most of it is organic, and it is mostly all local from smaller farms, so it is killing several birds with one stone! plus, it is usually cheaper (and way better quality) than grocery store organics.

    an enormous amount of chemicals are used for cotton, so i also buy organic cotton clothing whenever i can – again, this is expensive, so my current budget can’t always support my enviro ideals.

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  56. one thing we insist on in our house, even though it costs a fortune, are organic eggs. the difference in quality and taste is astounding.

    we do try to buy organic-everything else too. spinach is definitely high on the list, as well as coffee and meats, especially chicken.

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  57. I never bought organic. I don’t really worry about it.

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  58. Dana 58

    I am a vegetarian and eat and cook relatively healthy, so most people assume I am on the organic bandwagon. Truth be told, I am not. I buy a tremendous amount of produce which is very expensive anyway, so I really can’t justify the extra expense. I just try to make sure I wash all my produce really well.

    Even though I don’t shop organic in the grocery store, I am a wholehearted supporter of Farmer’s Markets and I shop those all spring, summer, and most of fall. I am totally willing to pay more if I am paying the farmer directly. I would also consider doing a CSA box, but being a personal chef, I like to have more control over what I purchase.

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  59. I do try to buy organic for most of our produce and meat, but if it’s not available it’s no big deal. For me it’s mainly about health – if I feel the organic option will be healthier than the conventional then I don’t mind paying a little more for it.

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  60. Would you believe potatoes (and grapes of course) hold the highest level of residual pestitcides. Clean the crap outta them if you don’t buy organic.

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  61. Julia 61

    I was surprised to see “vegan” sugar at the Whole Foods! Apparently some sort of animal product is used in the processing… though I can’t remember what.

    I always opt for local over organic when given the choice.

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  62. Mari 62

    Hi Cathy, I just found your blog, and I can’t wait to read more! My parents live in town, too.

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  63. I’ve tried both raw and organic sugar for baking and didn’t like the results with the raw but I did like a local organic granulated sugar and still use it from time to time.

    I really had no idea that the fruits and veggies you listed were treated with higher levels of pesticides than others…this is especially disconcerting because we eat A LOT of apples, carrots, bell peppers and ALWAYS have fresh strawberries in the house. We EASILY go through 4 pints of strawberries a week and in the summer we probably eat anywhere from 6-10 per week. The thing about organic produce in the stores here is that the quality is not that great. Well not in the winter time anyhow and the prices are horribly exorbitant. But after reading this I am really going to think about having a raised platform garden built so that I can raise some of my own produce this summer.

    I guess the short answer to your question is that yes, we are still willing to pay. Especially for free range and organically fed animals – chicken and beef. We don’t eat a lot of pork. And now, after reading this, I’m going to make an effort to buy only organic produce that we consume a lot of. I’m grateful that warmer temps are on the way, and with them, open air organic farmer’s markets! The prices are much more reasonable and the quality of the fruits and veggies is wonderful!

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  64. Ellen 64

    I’m still buying organic, but I’m sticking to fruits and vegetables in season whenever possible – this cuts some of the cost. And US grown produce, only making exceptions when absolutely necessary.

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  65. Since you asked, one of the most important food groups to buy organic is dairy. Butter has the most concentrates because the animals concentrate hormones and antibiotics and God knows what else into their fats. Butter is a highly concentrated item. Organic butter is high in vit A and much better for you than margerine.
    I buy organic lettuce pretty much always. Our Sams which is the same as your cost co carries Horizons butter and milk and also organice greens, spinach etc. I don’t worry to much about the other things. Meats would be my next choice again for the same reasons. Local produce is a good idea.
    The more you learn the more compelling it is. I have read the average American eats about 11 pounds of chemicals a year. Sounds like a contributing factor for cancer to me.

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  66. Jody 66

    I wish I could say that I used organic veggies or had a great garden to eat as many fresh products as possible but the fact is in the frozen and cold climate of N. Minnesota it’s just a hard feat! I have to drive over 40 miles round trip to find any organic produce so I’m afraid that we eat what our local little grocery carries and let me tell you it’s not good! I moved to “the boonies” 5 years ago and that is what I miss the most….a good variety of fresh produce!

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  67. Laurie 67

    I just spent the evening tonight attending my first meeting of a group dedicated to finding and eating mostly local organic food. That’s not easy to do in the Northeast, but the more I learn about conventional farming the less appetizing that food is to me. Learning about Monsanto is like watching a horror movie.

    Have you ever seen the documentary “The Future of Food” by Deborah Koons Garcia? It’s REALLY good, but terrifying. The biggest problem with educating yourself about this stuff is that it’s like learning about Santa. Once you know the truth, you can’t go back to believing that our food supply is safe. Really I think more people need to educate themselves about what they eat.

    I plan to double the size of my garden this summer and can or freeze as much as possible so I know exactly what my family is eating.

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  68. Cheryl 68

    We use the organic sugar from Trader Joe’s and I think it’s right tasty…in baking and especially in coffee (not always organic, admittedly)

    Milk always…even the kids milk boxes for school.

    You buy a LOT of produce—good for you!

    (Actually, I have a question for you…email me when you can! Cheryl [at] Twinsights [dot] com. :) ]

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  69. Louise 69

    What a rough question! Yes, it was so much easier when times were plentiful to do the right thing. I’ve gone back to what has gotten me by, with a few cringes. We eat in season. So, no tomatoes in winter, nothing from South America just because it is in season there. OK, give me a break for the Aussie wines that are really blooming! Yes, many of our local foods here where life is easy in the summer do have pesticides, but we purchase them right from the farmers. The savings in shipping and middle man costs create a karma balance. My two guilt trips are milk and eggs. I do “splurge” on cage free eggs, just hoping they really do have a bit of a better life. As for organic milk, it has always been out of our price range. Closer to home, while our I’ve learned to grow our own herbs in the front yard while our puppy continues the seemingly never-ending chewing phase. 😉

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  70. I’m almost 100% organics. I bake with organic sugar in a variety of forms (including date sugar and sucanat and rapadura). We’re not processed-food people (my yongest have never even eaten McDonalds, the older ones maybe once) and my kids aren’t used to highly sugared/salted foods. We have raised our kids with as many organics as I could get hold of — I lived in Santa Cruz previously so I had many local options. Since moving to another local/organic farm mecca I have found oodles to choose from. My budget isn’t busted because I cook from scratch and make the organics a priority. Fresh/in season is a must with organics a close second. I bought some organics from Costco and found them poor quality probably from travel.

    As for $$$$, My special-needs kids have always amazed the docs with their sterling health — it’s been well worth the $$$$. All my “regular” kids have benefitted (as have the parents). I’ve heard all the arguments against organics and I say “that’s fine, you choose.” As for me and my house we chose organics over fast food, cable tv, frozen convenience, etc. and have no regrets, budgetary or otherwise. I love to cook. They love to eat real food. The budget always works because I choose to make it work. : D

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  71. it depends on how much money we have during any given week. I’m all for organic but when I have $150.00 for groceries, I’m more likely to buy stuff that is going to kill us.

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  72. Egghead 72

    Of course we produce our own eggs, once in a while we butcher chickens but only after they age out of the egg business. We raise our own beef every other year and grow our own lettuce, beets, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, garlic, green beans, squash, pumpkins, radishes, dill, all herbs, plums, strawberries, and have a huge blueberry patch. I can a lot so I buy organic from the local farms here in the summer. But we run out and resort to buying organic stuff in the late winter months. I wish we could do more but I run out of time and energy pretty fast.

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  73. imom 73

    I use organic when I can, but I don’t out of my way to find it.

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  74. I did some cost comparison and found that joining a co-op was not that much more than I was already paying. The only drawback is that I have to flexible, since I never know what I’m getting. On the plus side, it’s organic, it’s local and it’s seasonal.

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  75. Brandi 75

    We also have our produce delivered. It costs me about $35 a week for a family of four and we get enough fruits for the week and I supplement our veggies. There is always a wide variety and we try stuff that we normally wouldn’t – cat tail hearts anyone? The things I’m a stickler about buying organic are dairy products and the Dirty Dozen. We are cutting out meat to eat more fruits and veggies. I tend to only buy beef from the Farmer’s Market – but that’s only here five months out of the year. When I do buy produce I will buy all of the ‘dirty dozen’ organically and then the rest depends on cost/availability.

    Also, when I go to Costco I will buy their organically produced products just to support them – except their organic peanut butter, it contains added sugar. I don’t drink 2% milk but my family does so we buy organic milk from them, occassionally organic beef and then chips, crackers, whatever produce they have available. Good topic.

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  76. Elyse 76

    I’ve heard that you’re supposed to buy organic for any produce with a soft skin. That’s about the extent of how I do my organic shopping. I admit that I don’t always buy organic as often as I should…eek!

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  77. To all the people who have mentioned cost as a reason they “can’t” buy more organic, it’s interesting to note that Americans only spend about 18% of their income on food, while in Europe it’s more like 30-35%. Some of that could be accounted for by the fact that our food is cheaper, but it’s also a matter of priority. In Europe there is a societal value placed on eating well, that we just don’t have here (or not nearly to the same extent). I do have hope that we are progressing on this though!

    The bottom line is, unless you are poverty-level, your food choices are a matter of priority budget-wise more than anything. The Europeans just don’t spend as much on other crap like we do.

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  78. Mrs. L 78

    Organic dairy. We may be getting cheaper cuts of meat but we still buy organic butter and milk. Milk that comes in bottles.

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  79. Jessie 79

    I don’t know if you’ve heard about the work that EWG does, but each year they put out a “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides”

    link to foodnews.org
    they have a reference card with the ten best/worst and a full list of the relative pesticide contents of most veggies and fruits.

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  80. I don’t buy organic yet. Too expensive, right now, in my town.

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  81. foodhoe 81

    I buy a great deal of stuff that is supposed to be organic. I hope it really is. I feel confident about the weekly CSA box and the meat CSA are organic. I definitely buy organic milk but for some reason I haven’t specifically sought out organic cheese…

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  82. Caili 82

    Cathy, will you be my friend???

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  83. Bec 83

    eee! splenda = satan! don’t go there! it might be less fattening etc but it’s made from all sorts of toxic rubbish!
    Cathy-
    Re: organic etc.: have you read “Skinny Bitch” (rory freedman and kim barnouin)
    It’s a very interesting and eye-opening read – and funny too!

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