Other Things Organic
Many of our favorite products were found outside of the produce bin and
dairy case. Steaz organic sodas, brewed with organic green tea, were a hit with
the kids, especially the root beer. Wolaver Organic Ales were Steve's
Seventh Generation dishwashing liquid is biodegradable, works as well as
conventional products, and has a fresh, clean scent. And Lady, our family's pit
bull mix, gobbled up Newman's Own Organics Dog Food, one of the first organic
pet food lines available nationwide (newmansownorganics.com).
Tips + Trade-Offs
My all-organic week required frequent forays to more kinds of stores than I
typically visit in a week. I spent more on groceries, and I was in the car,
driving back and forth, an extra hour. With that said, I was impressed by the
many committed people — restaurant owners, farmers, grocery clerks — who are
working, one apple at a time, to make organic food more accessible.
It's possible to buy organic for your family without spending a fortune.
Purchase grains, dried fruit, cereal, pastas, and sugar from the bulk bins at
health-food store or chains such as Wild Oats and Whole Foods. Because organic
manufacturers eliminate artificial preservatives, buy only the amount you'll
need to avoid spoilage.
I gladly pay the premium for organic milk — $3.69 a half gallon versus $1.99
for regular milk — since I'm concerned about the possible long-term human
effects of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a synthetic hormone given
to conventional dairy cattle to increase milk production. If you have limited
funds to spend on organic produce, focus on the fruits and vegetables whose
conventionally grown counterparts are most likely to contain high pesticide
residue levels. According to the Environmental Working Group, this list
includes apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines,
peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach, and strawberries. Visit
ewg.org for a free produce wallet guide.
Consider joining a community-supported agriculture group. Members contribute to
the up-front costs of a local organic farm in exchange for a weekly share of
the harvest during the growing season (go to nal.usda.gov/afsic/csa).