How to Reduce the Cost of Organic Food
If you’re still on board with buying organic but want to lower the cost, consider these methods.
1. Be Selective: Instead of buying all organic produce, be choosy. For some items, there is little difference between organic and regular. This is the case with bananas. The harmful chemicals are removed with the peel so it isn’t worth it to pay an extra fifty cents more per pound. However, strawberries are the worst offenders with the highest pesticide content of any fruit.
Here are the other notorious offenders: apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, raspberries and spinach. The safest non-organic produce items are asparagus, kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapples, sweet peas, sweet corn, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, avocados and bananas.
2. Buy Direct: Contact your local natural food market and ask who supplies their organic foods. Then call up the supplier and arrange to buy directly from them. Chances are that they will be able to deliver directly to you. This may seem unconventional, but for savings of 30% to 40%, it may be well worth your trouble. If their minimum order is more than you need or want to pay, find another family to place an order with and split the cost.
3. Join a CSA: Join a community supported agricultural program or CSA for short. This type of program allows you to pay for your produce up front or in installments to a local farmer in exchange for weekly supplies of fresh produce during the growing season which can be anywhere from 15 to 30 weeks. A family of four can spend upwards of $800 to $1,000 each year on produce. For as little as $300, you can purchase a share in a CSA and save big on cost. Some CSA’s will allow you to purchase a half share if you want. You can always split a share with another family, as well.
For more information about CSA’s or to find one near you, visit: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
In Columbus, Ohio, the 15th largest city in the country, I was able to find a CSA that charges only $14.99 per week for a share of produce. The website lists local pick-up points and a detailed graph of what foods are available during each season. Each item is even hyperlinked to healthy recipes on how to prepare them.