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    Buying organic vs. saving $$

    At the grocery store, which usually wins out? Buying organic foods free of pesticides, antibiotics and preservaties are cheaper prices for all of the above?

    I have to say that in the past lower price would always grab me, but i thought this month i would do a little experiement. Instead of squashing those little impulses to buy organic due to their high price, I'm going to buy as much organic as i want and see how much more i really end up spenidng. I expect it will be more, but perhaps not so much more that i can't keep doing it.

    Lately all the stories on mercury in canned tuna, arsenic in commerically bred chicken and pesticides on thoses green grapes we all love from Chile have me running scared. This stuff is cumulative and just builds up in your body.

    I'm even fighting SO now who wants to move the veggie garden from an area with less sun to an area with full sun, but underneath where an old pressure treated lumber (leaches arsenic into soil) playhouse stood. Even with a soil test, i don't feel comfortable eating produce from that spot, but as usual, he doesn't seemed concerned.

    #2
    Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

    A lot is going to depend on what you eat. If it's fresh fruit and salads then going organic is going to be expensive. If it's oatmeal, pasta, and lentils then you won't have to worry about breaking the bank.

    Do you like to bake? You can make your own organic breads cheaply.
    Do you have a pasta machine? This can be cheap as well.

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      #3
      Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

      I like to bake, but don't have the time to do that often. Not much of a bread person, really, tho have been wanting to get a bread machine for quite a while.

      I eat a lot of fruit and veggies, and chicken. Rarely eat beef/pork unless it's the weekend and i'm with SO.

      I've read that it's fairly safe to eat non-organic foods with a thick skin, like bananas, but that among those fruits/veggies with the highest pesticide residue are: green Chilean grapes, strawberries, green peppers and celery.

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        #4
        Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

        It'll be interesting to see the price comparison over a month.

        I try and buy organic veggies and fruits, and am looking forward to the farmers markets hitting full swing again. Organic produce tends to be cheaper at markets than at a grocery store, and you're supporting local agriculture. It's also a fun outing rather than going to a flourescent lit grocery store on a nice day. I would recommend trying a farmer's market in your area - depending on what you're buying you might have really good luck.

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          #5
          Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

          I'll be interested to hear how it goes for you. We buy organic almost all the time when we have a choice.

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            #6
            Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

            I buy 50-80% organic, 100% whole grain (when I buy grains) and my grocery budget is usually $300/month (for 4). BUT, we get a large portion of our meat from dh's parents (they raise natural, grass raised beef) so I don't have that expense.

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              #7
              Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

              Fern, I'll be watchin' ya. I have always gone rock bottom price, but have lately felt that itch to switch. I'll do farmer's market in the summer-local for sure, and mostly organic, but I have to say the prices on organic are tough for me. We have a Natural Foods Co-Op, and though I admire what they stand for, it is hard to swallow a $6 cabbage and a $2.50 single zuchini. Maybe I will attempt to start with a couple products, and build on that. Like someone said on the Line Dry thread, it doesn't have to be all or nothing: each organic item I buy would be one less non-organic item.

              Anyone here have particular items where they would recommend to someone sticking toes in the pool? Something with a large taste difference, or small price difference, or biggest enviroinmental impact?

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                #8
                Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

                Originally posted by lrjohnson
                Anyone here have particular items where they would recommend to someone sticking toes in the pool? Something with a large taste difference, or small price difference, or biggest enviroinmental impact?
                I found this information (source):

                Among some of the recommendations Consumer Reports gives shoppers about organic products:

                • Organic products worth buying to avoid chemicals found in the conventionally produced versions: Fruits and vegetables, such as apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, spinach, and strawberries. The USDA’s own lab testing reveals that even after washing, some fruits and vegetables consistently carry much higher levels of pesticide residue than others. Meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are also worth seeking out.
                • Organic products worth buying only if price is no object, include: processed foods and certain produce items, such as: cauliflower, sweet corn, broccoli, mangos, and sweet peas. Multiple pesticide residues are, in general, rarely found on conventionally grown versions of these fruits and vegetables, according to research by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
                • Organically labeled items not worth buying include seafood and cosmetics. Whether caught in the wild or farmed, fish can be labeled organic, despite the presence of contaminants such as mercury and PCBs. The USDA has not yet developed organic certification standards for seafood. And while the USDA claims that organic labeled-cosmetics follow the same standards as food, Consumer Reports has found indiscriminate use of synthetic ingredients and violations of food-labeling standards.

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                  #9
                  Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

                  Good advice about the farmers markets. I have no excuse, there's a weekday one in town i could go to on my lunch hour and another on saturdays down the road.

                  I really have NO FAITH that big agriculture is really concerned about the health and safety of consumers; we're all on our own here. They just came out with a big news story yesterday about how Bausch and Lomb Renu saline solution can cause a fungal eye infection that can cause blindness. Gosh, if you can't trust a name like B&L, who can you trust?

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                    #10
                    Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

                    I'm interested in what you find, too! I desperately want to buy organic, but we are on such a tight budget that it's hard to do it as much as I'd like. We've got a phenomenal natural foods store near where we live and the fresh produce isn't a LOT more expensive than at a chain grocery store... it's just everything else like canned goods and meat and whatnot that's a lot pricier.

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                      #11
                      Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

                      I'll report back in 1 month's time!

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                        #12
                        Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

                        I will pick the product with the cheaper price. Although, I think organic is definitely a much healthier choice how do you know the product really is organic without any federal labelling mandate that has audited certification of the product?

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                          #13
                          Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

                          Looking for QAI certification can be useful.

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                            #14
                            Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

                            OK, May is nearly here. I promised to report back how much more expensive buying as much organic as possible turned out to actually be.

                            I spent $230 on groceries in April (I'm single, and that's a bit higher than my usual $170 to $200). And, I remember skipping buying groceries one whole week, plus i didn't really start this experiment til the 2nd week of april i think so i'm going to continue on for the full month of May.

                            Interestingly, i found myself buying things that said "all natural," and making the mistake of thinking they were organic. They weren't. Not organic unless it says so, but they were in that section of S&S and i wasn't paying attention. anyway, i think i'm gonna stick with it.

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                              #15
                              Re: Buying organic vs. saving $$

                              I try to buy some organic things along the lines of what DivaJen posted!

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