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Many doctors and scientists are now pushing for folks to choose organic produce to reduce risk of cancer and other illnesses. Rather than continuing the argument as to whether that is right or unfounded I thought we would take a look at some ways to save money on organic produce if you have decided to make the switch.
First many of us can’t afford everything organic, if you are in that boat then you want to remember the “clean 15” list. These veggies have lower levels of pesticides and are considered safer than others in the store to not be organic.
The Clean 15 (lowest in pesticides)
3. Sweet Corn
7. Sweet Peas
15. Sweet Potato
When all else fails, the produce to avoid if at all possible are the “dirty dozen“. These are known for having the highest levels or pesticides.
The Dirty Dozen
3. Bell Pepper
For everything else you need here are some tips to reduce the cost of organic produce:
Check out local farms and co-ops.
A great resource is LocalHarvest.org, they have a full list by zip code of farms in your area. Some will sell directly to you, and others have set up produce co-ops and CSA farms to help you get a discount on great items.
Buy in Bulk.
If you find a local farmer to work with, ask for the bushel or half bushel price. You will usually get a price break to buy a larger amount. Then bring it all home and put it up in the freezer to eat later in the year.
Don’t let anything go to Waste.
Stay focused on reasonable amounts for your family. If you can’t eat it, freeze it or share it before it goes bad, then you’ve wasted money. Careful menu planning and knowing how and what you can freeze will help cut down on buying too much.
Stay in Season.
This is a no-brainer for anyone trying to save on produce. Obviously buying out of season produce costs more, so try to plan menus and snacks around produce that is available.
Look for Coupons.
Many organic stores will release coupons for particular items and products. If you are in the area, it might be worth it to you to run in and use that coupon or see if another store will accept it as a competitor coupon. We also see coupons from the manufacturers for organic products as well, some in the past have been Olivia’s salads, Earthbound Farms and others. Check the coupon database to see any current coupons.
Save on other Necessities.
While organic produce may be a priority in your family, there are certainly other items like toilet paper, toothpaste and razors that you can easily save money on. Focusing on saving where you can frees up more of your budget for specialty items that are harder to find deals for.
What about produce washes?
I am with some of you and will gladly buy the $1.50 strawberries rather than paying the $4.50 for the organic version. So how do we make the non-organic version healthier?? Many companies will try to push produce and vegetable washes on you. They aren’t worth the money. Read up on a study done at University of Maine recently though and you’ll find that just sticking to a cold water rinse or bath is the exact same as buying an additional product. If you feel safer using a something other than water, here’s a home recipe for a spray you can use to help kill some contaminants. If you wash your produce as soon as you get home it will kill bacteria and spores and your produce will last longer too!
Get a new spray bottle
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup water
Leave this on your produce for 1-2 minutes and then rinse well.
Do you have any tips for how you save on organic produce? Please share!