An essential part of eating well is knowing how to shop, especially if you are trying to avoid the hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and other synthetic additives that are so rampant in our food supply. But even if you know what you are looking for, the issue of cost can factor into your decisions.
Personally, I try to eat fruits and vegetables when they are in season. For example, I am now in the six-week span when I eat cherries. Literally, in about two weeks, I’ll stop buying cherries and won’t eat them again for 46 weeks.
Cherries, though, are seventh on the Environmental Working Group’s list of fruits and vegetables of which we should be eating organic versions. Luckily, organic cherries aren’t that much more expensive than conventional ones grown with the use of pesticides. In the two markets (Fairway and Whole Foods) where I regularly shop, organic cherries are $3.99 per pound, versus $2.99 per pound for conventional. In this case, choosing organic is a no-brainer for me.
However, I won’t be buying organic red, yellow or orange peppers anytime soon, even though they are third on the list. Why? They cost $7 per pound. Since one average-size organic pepper costs more than $3, I pass.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t purchase peppers. Instead, I buy peppers grown hydroponically in a greenhouse in Canada. Equally enticing are the facts that no dangerous sprays are used in the growing process and that a package of four peppers (weighing more than a pound) costs $2.99, in-line with the price of the conventional peppers we should be avoiding.
Remember, food does not have to be organic to be healthy and safe. And if you buy seasonally, chances are even organic produce won't be cost prohibitive.