Food for thought right? Oh ho, ho, ho, I’m punny today. I know – it’s dumb, but still funny. But really, whenever Earth Day rolls around everyone starts talking about produce and which ones are bad and should be bought organic. I don’t know about you – but organic is expensive! And I’m not even talking about buying at just Whole Foods – oh no, my regular normally cheap grocery stores small organic section is ridiculous on prices. So I’m giving my cheap tips and/or suggestions, and hoping to bring more health into your year. It’s Earth Day – Which Organic Produce Should You Buy?
Let’s start with the list of the dirtiest produce:
With this list you can see that it’s not many – and mostly summer stuff right? And all super-popular right now too – I mean Kale? The renowned (said with sarcasm) super-food, that is every where?
So what do you do if you can’t afford to buy everything organic? Well – start with committing to buying one thing, your most used produce, organic. It’s a start – for your health and your budget. For me, my most purchased produce is apples. I buy them every week, whatever is the cheapest in the store; however, since this is my most eaten fruit, it is the one item I should be purchasing to help my health. Since I know I’ll be eating them daily, I should also recognize I’m eating pesticides daily, right? Eat salads often? Buy your lettuce organic. It’s sounds simple, and really when your starting small (and have a small budget) simple and small is the easiest way to go.
Other options? Your local farmers market. Now when I lived in the DC area there were farmer’s markets all the time, but in that area some were more expensive than the Whole Foods store! That to me is outrageous – I understand it’s your business, and it’s takes a lot of work to get your produce to the market but I just couldn’t justify spending $5 for a head of cauliflower when the WF was only $2! WF should not cost less than a farmers market in my opinion. But – if you don’t live in a frou-frou area your FM should be a cheaper place to get your food, and will probably have new-to-you foods there too! My local grocer is pretty predictable, so it’s always fun to a market to see what else is out there. And I love to help others and small businesses are the best way to do that.
Another option to support farmers is to check into local Community Supported Agriculture – (CSAs) – this site is awesome. You can type in your city and it will pull up all registered CSAs for you to look into and try-if the price is right of course. This is a good way to support farmers, and try new foods also – because you can bet there will be something in your box you have never tried before…and yes, you will have to come up with a way to use it tastefully – and I mean yummily 🙂 You can even Yelp the CSAs in your area! How cool is that? Because we all want to know if something is a good deal right?
Another option to get cheaper and better for you produce? Grow them yourself! Or get friendly with your green-thumb neighbor! I am fortunate to live near a cousin who has the greenest thumb imaginable so this summer we will all be overflowing with tons of fresh, pesticide-free veggies, but not everyone has that kind of thumb or an area to do that. Next best thing? Inside gardens! Even just growing your own herbs in little pots sitting in the window is better for you. You can buy hanging pots to plant your strawberries (yum, home grown berries!), or bigger planters to set outside for your tomatoes. Just have an apartment – well, I found this bad boy (expensive boy!) AeroGarden which would be perfect for a small apartment garden! It is my ultimate gift to myself so I have to save up for it – but I think it will be worth it. Especially if I can grow things during the winter!
Those are my tips for now – pretty easy, and cost effective. Because people say going vegetarian and vegan is cheaper than not right? Well, they are wrong. Buying fresh fruit and veggies – not even organic! – is so expensive! Eating salads daily, buying veggies for your soups, meal prepping for the week. It all adds up – and I’m single! Buying for two or a family of veggers? Outrageous. So if there is a better way to save money and still eat what I want? I’m going to find a way!