Is Organic Worth the Price?

 

Here’s a question I get quite frequently. Are organic products really worth the cost you pay? My answer is this…sometimes. There are a few different reasons why I say this. The encompassing reason is simply that all organic products are not the same. On the same side, all conventional products aren’t the same either. The 5 factors that I based my purchase of are the location that the product came from, the brand from which it came, the store from which it’s being bought, the ingredients being used, as well as the general appearance of the produce. 

Location – Where was it raised? My ideal purchase of produce is from local sources such as the farmers market. I try to choose organic, but don’t worry too much. The fact is if the farmer’s willing to show his face and you know where it’s being grown, you can probably trust the methods. Now when we branch out a little bit and start going national, I do get a little bit hesitant. At this point I will try to go organic, because the bigger the farms, the more production expected, the heavier the dose of pesticides and GMOs. More and more, however you’re seeing foods from India, Mexico, Brazil, China, and just about everywhere else. Here’s where the catch lies. There’s a reason some of these are grown over seas when we could just as easily do it here. The organic standards are different. They’re less strict. I don’t trust much that comes out of China, and only buy out of the US is the foods aren’t grown here like bananas or mangoes for example. In which case I would try to get organic because it has to be a little better than the conventional farm right next to it. 

Brand – Choose a brand that cares about their products, and you’re likely to find quality ingredients in those products. Choose one that doesn’t and you’ll likely find the opposite. With smaller companies and local brand, I don’t sweat the organic label too much, because sometimes it doesn’t make sense to pay that extra 25% for organic branding. When it comes to larger companies, I try to avoid, but when I do purchase them, I will always try to buy organic. Most of the time the organic will cost twice as much as the conventional sitting right next to it, but I guess that makes sense when they’re getting half the yield. Large companies are at a constant struggle to meet the high demands, so therefore will do just about anything to make sure they’re growing as much as possible. This worries me a bit. 

Store – The good thing about going to your local farmers market is that the farmers are there and you can ask about growing methods. There’s a good chance that even though they aren’t certified organic, they still don’t use pesticides. There’s an even better chance, they’re not using GMO’s. For this reason I would suggest shopping at a farmers market over buying organic from Albertson’s. This is also the reason I would buy conventional at the local co-op or natural food store over the massive chains organic selection. Companies that care about their customers needs and health as opposed to the profit each one makes them, will always choose the more eco-friendly and thus healthier farms. With large natural food stores such as Whole Foods or Bristol Farms, I would say just use your best judgment on each item. 

Ingredients – When you’re choosing an organic item, chances are you’re looking for the most natural, least processed, and minimal chemicals. Even if the label says organic, make sure to turn over the box and check the ingredients. You may be surprised. The trick is to look out for products that you don’t know or that you know are heavily processed. For instance corn…the fact is, all corn grown today is genetically modified. That means that while they may not have used pesticides while growing this batch, chances are it comes from a pesticide resistant ancestor. Let’s take organic cane sugar…this is just a fancy way of saying “sugar”, By the time it reaches your table, it has been through numerous processing methods to get that little white granule from a plan. How about Organic Canola Oil? Has anyone heard of a Canola Plant? I know I haven’t. There’s a reason for this too. Can-ola stands for Canada Oil. In fact, Canada loves to take a plant by the name of Rapeseed (A toxic food) and refine it and slap it’s own label on it. How is this in any way organic? You’d be much better off going with some conventional peanut oil or honey. 

Appearance – While buying an organic apple is more important than an organic orange because we eat the peel of an apple, I tend to pick produce based on how it looks to me. If the conventional apples are 3 times the size of organic, I know something’s fishy here. If the organic oranges look moldy and brown, I would choose the bright orange ones conventionally grown next to them. While shopping I heard a customer refer to a batch of fruit as happy fruit and to this day that’s one of my many tools that I use when selecting produce. Do these look like a happy bunch? 

To wrap everything up, the question is organic worth the cost? I’d say most of the time, yes, but there are always a number of factors that come into play, so definitely don’t make it the only thing from which you base you decision. If organic is too costly for you and your family there’s no need to worry, just try and buy local when you can, shop at your neighborhood co-op, and choose the produce that looks the best and the companies that are doing right. Obviously my number one favorite place to buy organic foods is Revitalize! Health Spa & Organic Store.

Revitalize! Health Spa & Organic Store
311 W Kennewick Ave
Kennewick, WA 99336
Phone: 509-586-6574

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