Let me preface this entire post by saying that I am not a medical expert or a scientist. I am a mom who is interested in giving my son the best foods possible (and my husband and myself). I’ve done some research, and the opinions below are what work for me!
Organic produce has been in the news quite a bit lately. A Stanford study recently came out saying that organic produce is no more nutritious than conventional produce. This didn’t come as a surprise to me…I never bought organic produce for its improved nutritional value (vitamin levels, etc.). I buy organics for what they don’t have…pesticides, chemicals, and carcinogens. Now, that said, organics are EXPENSIVE, but I justify the added cost because I believe in the long run they will help my family save on medical expenses. Oh yeah, and also that part about them not being full of chemicals!
Because organic produce can be more expensive than conventional produce I do a few things to keep costs down. The first is that I try to buy local, in season produce when possible. We eat berries all summer long, but when fall hits, berries get pushed aside for apples. Let’s face it…raspberries are not growing anywhere near Seattle in December, but apples are plentiful! Local produce means less travelling which means less transportation costs and less pollution.
David and I hit the farmer’s markets every week for our berry fix. We are lucky to live just a few blocks from our town’s farmer’s market…I will be sad when it closes for the season in two weeks. I like to support the local farms…even though I don’t buy tons and tons of food I feel like every little bit helps.
A bonus to frequenting the farmer’s market is that there is a vegan bakery stand…David and I go each week to get vegan cupcakes and flats of berries. I’m trying to freeze some of the berries to save for later, but we seem to go through them before I can get them in the freezer!
The other thing that I do to keep costs inline is to follow the Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen chart. Some produce items are notorious for being very high in pesticides. I avoid these like the plague! But others need very little, if any, pesticides, so these are safer to buy. Check out the great graphics below that I found from the Environmental Working Group (printable guide). I keep them on my phone so I can reference them while shopping.
Hope my 2 cents helps…happy shopping!