Markets offer a way to avoid hefty prices
IT'S A tough choice for many of us – we want to avoid pesticides, support farmers who produce food organically, and eat healthy food, but with the price of living and petrol continually going up it can be a strain on the already stretched budged.
The array of organic food, beauty, cleaning and even clothing products seem to be expanding on a daily basis, with the big supermarkets deciding to hop aboard the chemical-free train.
According to a Morgan-Nielsen poll more than half of Australians have bought at least one organic product in the past year. The main reason for buying organic was to avoid the pesticides and artificial fertilizers.
Shopping organically doesn't have to break the bank. You just have to shop strategically, and accept that you will pay more for organic food.
Firstly, aim to buy local. Not only you will be supporting the region but you can also cut down in freight. First stop is the markets where you are sure to find some great produce if not certified organic than still grown chemical free.
If you want to buy organic, but the price tag is a factor, you could limit your organic choices to foods that, when grown conventionally, have been found to have the highest pesticide residues.
There is a list of 45 fruits and vegetables compiled by the US Environmental Working Group. It suggests going organic for peaches, apples, capsicum, celery, among others. It says conventionally grown produce with much lower amounts of pesticide include avocados, onions, frozen sweet corn and mangoes. (/ www.foodnews.org/pdf/EWG_pesticide.pdf)
It's almost always cheaper to buy organic produce when it is in season. You can pick up fruits and vegetables at the markets, organic stores and even the supermarket.
Make sure to ask vendors where their produce is from –some vendors re-sell fruit and vegetables from wholesalers who get it from far away which can add to the price.
As with conventional food, you can get deals by buying in bulk.
It is amazing how much spinach can grow in a pot. It takes a little more patience to grow organic and pulling out all the weeds by hand and netting the crop to make sure no bugs get in, but it can be rewarding. It gives you complete control over how it is grown. And you'll know it's chemical free.