Shopping Day & Organic Produce
May 6, 2008, 10:31 am
Filed under: Shopping Day, Tips | Tags: , , ,

I went shopping on Monday. This week there were a lot of things on my list that either I know Whole Foods doesn’t offer organic versions of (e.g. brussel sprouts, bread crumbs) or I don’t see the value in paying more for (dry pasta, beans). So I did half of the shopping at the mega grocery. I spent $45.57.

$25.13 @ Whole Foods
– tofu
– crackers
– quart of milk
– eggs
– yogurt, 3 cups

– Fage yogurt
– apples (3)
– orange (1)
– deli cheddar cheese, 1/3 lb
– deli roast beef, 1/2 lb

$20.44 @ Stop and Shop
– ditalini pasta, 1 box
– rigatoni pasta, 1 box
– spaghetti sauce
– taco shells
– fat-free refried beans
– chicken broth
– Italian flavored bread crumbs
– salsa
– chickpeas, 2 cans
– brussel sprouts, 1 lb
– lime
– 1 loose carrot
– onions (2)

The Menu

Sunday – lettuce wraps, egg rolls

Monday & Tuesday – Pasta & Chickpeas soup, with baconized brussel sprouts

Wednesday & Thursday – Tofu Parmesan, salad

Friday – out

Saturday – Tacos

Keep reading for some of my thoughts on buying organic products on a budget…

One thing I do to keep the costs down is prioritize what I want to buy organic and what I don’t. Most of the time, I’d rather have pesticides than hormones. This means I almost always try to buy organic/hormone-free meats, eggs, and dairy products. I often get organic vegetables too, but not all the time. Whole Foods doesn’t have every vegetable I need in organic form; and a lot of the organic vegetables come from Central and South America just like everything else.  I also read that if you are choosing what produce to buy organic, then you can prioritize things you won’t peel over things that get peeled.  Produce that comes in a thick skin that will get peeled off and discarded such as bananas, avocados, onions is less important to buy organic.  The outer layers, which have the most pesticide contact, will be thrown out.  I guess the same would go for things like beans, which come from pods. Of course, conventionally grown stuff will still have the effects of chemicals and fertilizers through their roots. And they don’t taste as good as organic vegetables. I don’t know how much all this is true because I’m not an expert, but it makes sense.

I did some research and found that FoodNews, an environmental group, has a list of popular produce and their relative levels of pesticides. If you are trying to prioritize organics, I think it’s a great source to use.

Other decisions about organics are made out of experience. I once bought a box of organic pasta @ Whole Foods that cost me $5. I decided that organic pasta is not that important to me in the grand scheme of things so I get the regular stuff on sale for $1 a box.  On the other hand, there isn’t that extreme of a price difference between organic cookies & crackers and the name brand processed foods, so I’m willing to pay a little more for those items.

I hope that gives some explanation as to why some items I buy are organic and some are not, and why I go to two grocery stores.  (They are across the street from each other, so I go at the same time or while I’m on the way home from other errands.)


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