How We Navigate the Organic/Non-Organic Issue

To eat organic, or not to eat organic…that is the question.

One of the guys that I train asked me to post about how my family and I make decisions regarding organic and non-organic food.  Therefore, this post will explain in a nutshell how we navigate that issue.  Thanks for the idea, man ;).

(By the way, if you have anything you would like me to post on, feel free to e-mail me your idea here, and I just might post on it!)

So Do You Eat Organic Food?

Yes, we eat organically, and no, we do not eat exclusively organically.

The reason is very similar to most anyone’s, I’m sure…that junk is expensive!  For example, I’ve seen a conventionally grown red bell pepper for $1.69 at the grocery store, and in the organic section, a red bell pepper will be $3.99.  That is over a 200% increase in the price of the conventional one!  And with how we have set our weekly budget, we simply cannot afford that.

If You Do Not Buy All Organic Food, What Do You Do?

In a nutshell, this is what we do:

  • We buy certain foods organic all of the time
  • We go to the farmers’ market once or twice a week
  • We scrub clean the vegetables we buy conventionally
  • We grow some of our vegetables

We buy certain foods organic all of the time.  Those foods include carrots, spinach, lettuce and bananas.  The main reason that we buy these organic pretty frequently is because we eat them a lot, and additionally, because we feel we can live with the prices.  Cucumbers, squash and apples are also bought organic occasionally.

We go to the farmers’ market once or twice a week.  Well, my wife is the main one who goes to the farmers’ markets.  She does not care for the grocery store scene as much, so I do our grocery store trip for the most part, and she does our farmers’ market trips.  The great thing about farmers’ markets is that, for the most part, all of the vegetables are local.  If the vegetables were grown conventionally (with pesticides and stuff) but were at least grown relatively close to home, we figure we can live with that better.  Why?  Well, because conventionally grown produce a few miles from home might just be better than organically grown produce from way off on the west coast or South America.

Oh, we also tend to get pretty good deals on food bought from farmers’ markets.  The interaction with the folks who grew your food is pretty cool as well.

We scrub clean the vegetables we buy conventionally.  Unless they are frozen, if we buy conventionally grown vegetables, we try to make sure that we clean them pretty well.  With produce like greens, green beans and such, we soak them in vinegar.  This apparently helps to get rid of a lot of the pesticide.  Then, we rinse them a couple of times.  If it is something more dense like a tomato or a cucumber, we spray it with vinegar, then we use a vegetable scrub brush to thoroughly rub the skin of the vegetable/fruit, and then finish with a rinse.

We grow some of our vegetables.  In my opinion, it does not get much better than growing your own food!  Gardening is perhaps the oldest occupation there is, and even within just the past 100 years, it was much more common to see gardens in most everybody’s yards.  To revisit the bell pepper situation I mentioned earlier, red ones can cost a lot.  Green bell peppers are not as expensive, but they fluctuate up and down, too.  However, at some points this summer, we were able to pick 8-10 bell peppers every week from our backyard garden.  You cannot beat that.

If you want more motivation for gardening, check out my posts in the “From Garden to Table” category, and also, check out  The lady who runs that blog grows a ton of vegetables.  She really does well with showing you the possibilities in your own backyard.

I hope this article was helpful for you, and encourages you in how you approach buying organic food.  Please comment, and feel free to share this with anybody you know could be helped!

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