Photo: Flickr via roebot
Lately we’ve been trying to buy more organic products because we’ve become increasingly aware of the hazards of traditional farming methods.I think it became an acute issue when I started eating apples and felt a tickle in my throat because my body was reacting to whatever chemicals they used to treat them.
No matter how much I washed them, to try to get it off and to try to remove the wax, it still happened.
With most of the nutrients being in the skin itself, it felt silly to peel them just to avoid the reaction… I might as well not eat them!
Unfortunately, eating organic is going to be more pricey than eating the regular produce, but you’ll find that there are things that we did to drop the price a bit.
1. Farmer’s Market
Your local farmer’s market gives you a chance to buy food straight from the producer without having to drive a few hours out to the nearest farm. A good farmer’s market can see you set for produce and even for meat, dairy and honey throughout the summer and fall months.
The prices are cheap, and you also have the benefit of helping the community around you. The farmer’s market is a great way to learn to eat new and interesting fruits and vegetables, and it is also an excellent outing for the whole family.
Oftentimes they may not be organic but they’ll use better products than the megafarms or places outside the country looking to maximise margins.
2. Shop Locally
Shipping costs can increase the rates on organic food exponentially. When you want to eat organic, consider what grows around you locally. Some grocery stores are helpful and provide you guides to what has been grown within your state or within a three-county area. This can help defray the costs somewhat.
It’s imperfect though so always compare local with the supermarket costs, sometimes the economies of scale work in your favour.
Someone will always know where you can find the best organic beef, cheese or tomatoes in your area. Start going to organic food meetups and talking to the people who come out. Even a single evening session can be an amazing education.
You can search online as well for the best deals because people love talking about it on their blogs, through Facebook and other social media, so don’t just wait to see your locavore friends!
4. Buy in Season
This is probably the biggest tip of them all – buying season helps you reduce costs significantly. The next time you go to buy fruit, figure out what’s on sale and gravitate towards it. For example, buying apples in fall and oranges in winter can help you reduce the costs of your grocery bill by quite a large margin.
5. Leafy Greens & Starches
While we all know that organic food is good, remember that at the end of the day, some options are just more expensive than others. The most expensive organic goods involve careful shipping.
Things that are more fragile, like tomatoes and peppers, are more costly than hard things like yams or potatoes. Buy accordingly the next time you head out to your local organic food vendor!
Also, leafy greens are one of the biggest beneficiaries of organic production when it comes to pesticide reduction since the pesticide is applied directly to the leaves (and it’s harder to clean off).
So the next time you opt for organic, try some of our tips and see if it’ll save you some cash!
Jim writes about personal finance at Bargaineering.com.