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Stuck between a price point and a pesticide place.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

It's great to be getting a ton of fruits and veggies in my diet! You'd think I'm doing really well with two fruit bowls out so that the kids and husband will eat them too. I have plenty of veggies I have put into snack size baggies for quick lunch making. I can easily add veggies into any meal because of the frozen bags I picked up for cooking (plain, not seasoned).

But then, I think, what am I doing by picking up the "conventionally grown" produce? I do get an abundance of those fruits and veggies, plus, in such a short growing season, it's hard to buy locally all year long. Even looking on the mngrown website, I still have to take a long drive to find an organic farmer.

I am also one of those people who rely on government funds to supplement my food income, so I have to rely on the grocery store, the farmers do not take SNAP funds (commonly known as food stamps). Only last year did the state of MN start a program that allows the St. Paul farmers market to take those funds. I live an hour away from that too. (I say this not because I like having to rely on it, I tell you this because it's my reality right now.)

I know intellectually that pesticides are not good for anyone to ingest. The "war on cancer" has not been won because of the way food is grown and that we're still eating things that harm the body. If we spray things to eat with poisons, even if we say it's to get rid of the insects (and they wonder why the bees are dying?), how is this going to affect our bodies long term?

Some things are easy to switch to organic. I've gone from "teddy grahams" to "bunny grahams" (which taste better, in my opinion, find them on sale at Target). I switched from Kraft Mac n' Cheese to Auntie Annie's Bunnies and Cheese. I'll buy the organic salad mixes. There are real fruit strips that, if found on sale, are about as cheap as the "fruit snacks" at regular price. Beans and rice have only a little difference in their prices.

I have no problem with this ten cent to half a dollar more price. It's worth it to not have my kids go through life eating sugar, food colors and GMO's.

But then I look at that dollar a pound price difference. I have to decide, do I have enough to eat in a month or do I pick quality and be hungry for a week at the end of the month? I love fruits and veggies. I like being able to have them all month long. $0.99 a pound! Can't beat that!

Occasionally the organic fruits and veggies go on sale, so then I stock up on what I can that week. Obviously things go on sale during peak season for any item, so I have to allow a little wiggle room for those things. I was lucky enough to be able to get my cow organically grass fed and with my tax return, it helps a lot to have half a cow in my freezer at once.

I try to do my best getting more organic things. I'm not a fan of eating pesticides. I wash all my fruit and veggies, no matter how it was processed (how many people touched my food before I bought it? Yuk!), but I know that the plants that are sprayed leech the pesticides into their systems and no matter how much I wash them, they're inside my apples and celery.

I am fortunate to have a south facing balcony. I have grown my own food for several years now. It gets us through the summer, but I don't produce enough for the winter. Fortunately I now have access to a backyard and we'll plan on doing more next year too. Mom even owns enough canning stuff that I can use too! I put a small investment into that (food seeds are allowed on SNAP funds too, for your information, although I usually pay out of my pocket for my seeds) and get a big return (on good yield years) to feed my extended family (it is mom's backyard, so she should reap those rewards too).

I am fortunate to be in an area that supplies organic foods, I have 4 grocery supplying stores within a short driving distance to me. I know that not all people have the ability to grocery shop weekly, some cities (with the biggest government assisted areas) do not even have a local grocery store! As much as WalMart is put down, it may be the only grocery store in many cities.

I may not be perfect with being able to buy everything organic, but I figure that if I manage getting up to half my food supply as organic, I'm doing a lot better than I was even a year ago. One day, when I can afford it, my pantry will be all organic. I'd love to have the walk-in pantry my great grandmother had, full of things she grew and canned.

MNGrown Link:

Today's Holidays: Father's Day, Cracker Jack's Birthday, Bloomsday (Dublin and Irish everywhere), Krypton Momorial Day (Smallville and Metropolis), Roller Coaster Birthday and National Fudge Day.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I really enjoyed reading your blog; it reminded me of when I was a young mother with four children and saw myself as an "earth mother", a term that has since been lost. The reason I saw myself that way was because I grew as much of our food as possible, did my own baking including bread and was pretty much a vegetarian cook. My kids all grew up to love their fruits and veggies and to cook in much the same way I do. We lived in northern Minn, in International Falls at the time so the short growing season did make it a challenge. It is good to see young people still doing all they can to feed their families healthy meals and I congratulate you on what you do living in diffeicult circumstances!
    1707 days ago
    Costs of organic foods in California are beyond my price point as well...I do go to our local farmers market, but I bargain shop...there are a lot of things I would love to get but just cannot afford...I usually get my onions and bell peppers bags for around $1 each....I lucked out this saturday and got a bag of haas avocados (16) for $3....and a tomato for 50 cents....

    I think you are doing great with incorporating organic where you can.....

    I don't have a yard either only a south facing balcony and we grow our own chives..they are declicious.....we tried tomatos and peppers but that did not work out too well.....

    1707 days ago
    I agree, this is a difficult choice to make, especially from a cost perspective.
    Pricing on organic here in the UK is really high compared to "normal" produce. I looked at a local farm veg box delivery service and was shocked to find, when I delved into it, that some of the produced was shipped in from Europe. So much for local!!
    We are gradually being able to improve on what we buy. Our meat is now from a local butcher and we shop at local farmers markets when they are on. Will we be able to go totally organic? - probably not but we will buy as good as we can.
    1707 days ago
    1708 days ago
  • BOPPY_
    Fruits & veggies: The key to my 120 pound weight loss!

    The fruit, so far, this summer has been super-naturally fantastic! ;-)


    Lee emoticon
    1708 days ago
    Good job taking advantage of the space you have and using your balcony to grow food!
    1708 days ago
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