Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Helpful Resources for Buying Organic

As many of you know, I have been on the hunt for better ways to shop and cook more healthfully for my family. Part of this commitment has meant buying organic produce, dairy and meat as often as I can.

One of the questions I have been trying to find a solution to is "where can I shop for organic produce that is both economical and convenient?". I tried normal grocery stores, but felt disappointed time and time again in their prices and selection. I tried Specialty Produce (a wholesale distributing company who sells farmers' market bags weekly, which are full of local, organic and sustainable produce from over a dozen farmers), but found it to be more of a "once in a while" type of resource as it 1) seemed repetitive week after week until new produce came into season, and 2) was hard to meal plan for, as each week's bag was a surprise until the day before. I still love Trader Joe's for lots of items, but have never been satisfied with the amount of organic produce they carry. This all lead me to give the Ocean Beach People's Organic Food Market a try. It is a member-owned vegetarian consumer co-op here in our local neighborhood in San Diego. I paid $10 for an annual membership and can guarantee when I walk in that ALL the produce inside is organic, local and seasonal for reasonable prices. I have even begun to purchase all of my whole wheat flour and grains there in their bulk section. Shopping here does have what other's might consider drawbacks. I have had to adjust my shopping routine to go to two different stores, but for our family, it is worth peace of mind that we are putting better foods into our bodies. Also, the store is small, so quarters are tight. For us, this means having my husband come home 30minutes early one night a week so I can go without the company of our 18-month old daughter. I encourage you to look into local resources such as a co-op like this - you never know what might be around your corner...

Another resource I have found extremely helpful in my effort to purchase organic produce is to refer to the "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean 15" lists. I know for many, it is either not always economically feasible to buy ALL organic produce, or these organic produce items are not available where you shop. These lists give you the top 12 produce items with the highest amount of pesticide residues (those you would want to be certain to purchase organic) and the top 15 produce items with the lowest amount of pesticide residues (those you could skip buying organic if you have to). I found this neat, printable pocket guide to keep in my wallet as a quick reference on my shopping trips. I also found this more comprehensive list of 49 fruits and Vegetables and where they fall on the list of pesticide residue amounts.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the links! I've been looking for a pocket guide because I cannot for the life of me remember which are dirty and which are clean when I'm at the store.