|17 tips for buying organic food
on the cheap
Do you enjoy the taste of organic food but you're
turned off by the price? If you're willing to do some creative shopping
and cooking, you can enjoy the freshness and goodness of organic
foods without breaking your food budget.
Step one is giving up your dependence on conventional
Limiting yourself to the organic section or natural
foods section of your local grocer is a great way to pay too much
for your more wholesome food selections.
These days there are tons of places to buy organic
foods. Besides the supermarkets, you can find them in health food
stores, specialty stores, co-ops, gourmet delis, farmers' markets,
community-supported agriculture programs, convenience stores and
even vending machines.
If you don't shop around, there's a good chance you'll
pay too much for your organic food selections. And while most folks
are willing to pay a little more for organic food, few people can
afford to pay sky-high prices week in and week out.
And let's face it, organic food can be quite expensive.
A $1 conventional food item could cost twice as much in the organic
Or you could pay a whole lot less for an organic
goody -- maybe just a few cents more than the conventional price.
Much depends on the food item, where you live, where you're shopping
and the growing season.
"If you live in a place like California you're
lucky, because organic produce and conventional produce are very
close in price," says Ronnie Cummins, national director of
the Organic Consumers Association.
Organic fruits, vegetables and grains are grown
without most conventional pesticides and without fertilizers made
with synthetic ingredients. Organic meat and dairy products are
free of antibiotics and growth hormones.
Many food shoppers are willing to pay a little more
for organic food simply because they like the taste.
"You can taste the difference," Cummins
says. "Fresh, local organic is the ultimate."
|Organic food on the cheap
|When it comes to filling your
cupboards with healthy organic food, being a savvy shopper
is absolutely paramount.
|These 17 tips will show you
how to track down affordable organic food near you.
You may have a lot more choices for organic food in your community
than you realize. All it takes is a little research to find out.
Organic associations and organizations in your state are good places
to start. Just type the name of your state and the word "organic"
into a search engine and see what pops up.
And be sure to check out Web sites such as Organic
Consumers Association and Eat
Well Guide. They're chock-full of links and information on organic
foods and they allow you to search for organic food sources in your
at farmers' markets.
Farmers' markets are great sources of fresh local produce. A just-picked
tomato from a local farm tastes better than a tomato that's traveled
thousands of miles before reaching a supermarket shelf.
"It's going to be cheaper and fresher
at a farmers' market," Cummins says.
If you don't see a sign saying the produce is organic,
be sure to ask. Some farmers may be making the transition to organic
The key to landing good deals at farmers' markets
is to ask lots of questions. Ask about seconds -- perfectly tasty
but misshapen produce that you may be able to buy at a discount.
Ask about discounts for buying in bulk. Ask how you can buy their
produce when the market is closed.
"Always ask what tastes the best. They
know. They'll tell you," says Jesse Ziff Cool, author of "Your
Organic Kitchen: The Essential Guide to Selecting and Cooking Organic
Foods." "They're going to pick up a melon and say, 'Taste