To Buy Or Not To Buy Organic

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on July 27, 2009

First up- the winner of the Canadian Neal Brother’s Contest

I didn’t have many people comment on the GMM, so your chances of winning were MUCH higher than usual! ;)


Congrats to Heather! Heather please email me your address and we will get this wonderful Neal Brother’s package sent to you! :) Thank you for everyone who made a comment on the Green Monster Movement!


Yesterday, we did a quick grocery shop to stock up on some food we ran out of over the weekend.


The organic grapes were on sale so we got 2 big bags! I think these are the first grapes I have bought all season because they are just so darn expensive. They are totally splurge worthy though. I had a huge bowl last night. Sadly, I don’t think they will last long in this house!


  • Organic spinach on sale
  • Nature’s Path Flax Plus Cereal (my new obsession)
  • Almond Breeze in Original


  • Kraft Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Mary’s Organic Crackers
  • Twelve Grain Tortilla Shells by Country Harvest
  • 4 tomatoes
  • Bananas
  • Bag of avocados
  • orange + yellow pepper
  • Cantaloupe
  • Red + green organic grapes
  • 3 Zucchini

I have been asked whether I buy exclusively organic produce when I shop. The quick answer to this is no.

The more lengthy answer behind it is for a couple reasons. 1) We used to buy everything organic that our grocery store carried. Since starting up Glo Bakery however, we made many cutbacks on our spending. One of the first things that went was organic produce. The only things I tend to buy organic now are spinach, kale, apples, and tomatoes (all high risk for pesticides that I eat every single day!). I also try to buy organic tomato sauce whenever possible. However, I don’t tend to buy organic peppers, zucchini, avocados, or other produce items (especially if it has a thick skin that is not eaten) simply because of the cost.

We also buy some organic produce like grapes when it is on sale. Otherwise, everything else you see is just regular produce. And 2) Our local grocery stores don’t have a large organic section so there are many products that they simply don’t carry organic, or they do carry it, but they are never fresh. No thanks!

I am thinking about purchasing a local CSA for the fall season, but I need to look into it more and research the costs.


Today’s question: Do you buy any organic produce on a regular basis? Why or why not? If so, what types of things do you buy organic?


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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Carla July 27, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Buy organic meat if you’re not a vegetarian. That and organic dairy products is really important due to growth hormones. The veggies you mentioned (high risk for toxic pesticides) are also important, but personally I feel organic meat and dairy is a priority.


Paige @ Running Around Normal July 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Nice haul! I do mostly like you, and buy organic produce for the stuff with very thin skin, like tomatoes, blueberries, apples, spinach. Or the stuff I eat every day. The rest is nonorganic, because of the price.


Lauren (Runandrejoice) July 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm

I do the same thing pretty much! I eat apples, spinach and bananas everyday, so those are organic without question. Mostly everything else is just regular. I hit up our local farmers markets to save money and support the local community as well! It is hard being a college student, but at least I am spending my money on organic produce and not beer & pizza, right?! Haha!


Jess July 27, 2009 at 1:19 pm

I buy organic apples and spinach but that’s about it that I make the decision to buy. If I buy it at Costco or our local market (not grocery store) I don’t have a choice – it’s usually organic!


Leah @ L4L July 27, 2009 at 1:25 pm

I am about half and half on purchasing organic produce. I don’t make a big deal out of it because the regulations aren’t as strict as I’d like to see anyway so I don’t think it is worth it most of the time. And money is tight so that’s that. I would LOVE to do a CSA but we haven’t had the budget for it at the moment. Hopefully if I land a new job, we can!


Katerina July 27, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Freeze some of your grape and throw them in your GM, one of my fave additions.


AshleyH aka Organic Girl July 27, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Hi Angela, I tend to spend alot on groceries. I tend to not spend alot other places to compensate. I know you and your husband are trying to cut back. If you dont mind I was wondering how much you spend on groceries. I usually spend $60 a week and its just me. My excuse is that I have a digestive disorder and need to be careful about what I eat.
Thanks :)


Jessica July 27, 2009 at 1:33 pm

i normally do not buy organic produce unless it is on sale, or the only option. i have a tight budget!


lacey July 27, 2009 at 1:37 pm

I try to buy organic when it is available to me. Though not everything I buy is organic because like you my store has limited organic items. I guess the one thing that I always buy organic is spinach.

Stop by my blog I am giving away a copy of Entertaining in the Raw this week!


Bree July 27, 2009 at 1:38 pm

It depends on where I am. I make trips to many stores, so I will usually buy whatever is cheapest wherever I am, be it Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco, or my local supermarket. My husband is a thrifty shopper, so its hard to talk him into buying everything organic if we don’t need to. If I shop without him I tend to throw more organic items in my basket though…sneaky :)


Valerie July 27, 2009 at 2:11 pm

I buy organic sometimes, but usually it’s only when the price is similar, the same, or even less on rare occasion (a couple weeks ago organic peaches were on sale for less than regular ones!). I buy the PC Organics spinach and baby carrots on a regular basis since they’re basically the same price as non-organic and I find they actually stay fresher longer and look better from day one. For other things I just find that the cost of some items is too high, especially when I’m trying to eat on a student budget.


JB July 27, 2009 at 2:12 pm

ugh, i hate how expensive grapes are! but i break down and buy them because they’re just so delicious! and i do buy organic produce on a regular basis. i try to buy everything organic that i can. but for example, if i’m really in the mood for something like a banana, and only the conventional ones are ripe, it’s not to say i won’t have one! but fruit with really thin skin and other high-risk produce, i try to always eat organic. i think life is too short to be a TOTAL and complete stickler about it though.


Jacqui July 27, 2009 at 2:21 pm

This blog is great! Very interesting about the organics. I know the ADA goes back and forth enough lol. I’m always wondering which is really better. All those fruit and veggie pictures made me hungry! :-)


Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now July 27, 2009 at 2:27 pm

I think right now it’s just too expensive. I’d love for organic to become the norm, so that prices would be comparable.


Michelle Hisae July 27, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I don’t really think about organic when I go grocery shopping. I shop mostly at Trader Joe’s, and there isn’t a huge variety for each different vegetable. There’s one type of broccoli, pepper, avocado, etc. One thing I purposefully don’t buy organic is bananas because of the thick skin/peel. And I buy SO MUCH spinach, that that extra $0.50 will add up to a lot over time. Maybe I’ll switch a few of my products to organic when I make more money!


Ashley July 27, 2009 at 2:33 pm

No. Organic fruits and veggies are outrageously priced in the stores. Instead I shop at local farmer’s markets. They might not be certified organic, but are damn close.


The Running Yogini July 27, 2009 at 2:57 pm

I do pretty much the same thing as you do, but also I REALLY try to get peppers organic. They are SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE though :-( I hope that as more people buy organic the prices will come down so that more people will be able to afford organic. Fingers Crossed :-)


Lizzie July 27, 2009 at 3:01 pm

I started buying Organic milk (just the store brand) full time a couple of months ago. My reasoning is that it’s only an extra 10c a week and worth it to have less crap :) Plus it lasts longer so if there is a week where I don’t have as man bowls of cereal, then I don’t have to feel guilty about wasting it since it’s still goof the following week. However when it comes to fruits and veggies I really only buy organic if it’s on special. I do buy free range eggs (organic when on sale) and free range chicken/meat etc

One thing my mum told me was that you shouldn’t feel guilty spending money on good, nutritious food at the supermarket – think of it as an investment in yourself and it’s still cheaper than eating out! :)


Stacy July 27, 2009 at 3:01 pm

I’m like most of you guys, I buy organic when it’s affordable and available. The only exceptions are the dirty dozen fruits and veggies – if I can’t buy them organic, I won’t buy them. I buy a lot of organic frozen produce because it’s usually cheaper and it doesn’t go bad. We also always buy organic dairy, eggs, and meat products.


Chloe July 27, 2009 at 3:06 pm

I try to buy as much as I can organic, but not if it’s too costly. One of the benefits of summer is I can go down to the farmer’s market and pick out fresh organic veggies that are grown 5 miles away from my house.

Things like grains and cereals I haven’t been buying organic, but I always buy organic eggs and meat and make sure that they are antibiotic free as well. I’m hoping to get some chicken and eggs from the same farm I get my produce because I know that they are handled well and live a good life.


Kelly July 27, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I try to buy organic when I can, but I’m not diligent about it. I buy most of my produce from a local grower, and his stuff is so much better looking/lasting/tasting/etc than the stuff at the store, that the tradeoff is that it’s non-organic, but local.
I try to incorporate organics into the items where pesticides play a big role (such as peaches, nectarines, apples, peppers, strawberries, lettuce, spinach, grapes, pears and potatoes).


Rosey Rebecca July 27, 2009 at 3:23 pm

OO I See Mary’s Gone crackers in there!! I love those!! I try to buy organic as much as possible but sometimes it just gets too expensive.


Lindsay (Whim&Waffles) July 27, 2009 at 3:38 pm

I’d like to buy all organic (and local), but I just can’t afford it yet. I do buy organic yogurt, though, and I love all the Nature’s Path cereals, which I believe are organic as well.


Mellissa July 27, 2009 at 3:44 pm

I buy organic produce when it is on sale or if I get to the farmers market. I would rather by local before I buy organic since most of the local farms are committed to organic farming anyway.


Holly July 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm

like you, i try and save some dollars these days by cutting back on organic. There are some things like spinach and apples that I do try to splurge on though. For me, it isn’t just about the chemicals used, but the quality of the soil and growing time allowed that make organic produce *far* more nutrient dense than otherwise (this was seriously shocking when I read about it in In Defense of Food…I think something like 3 apples = nutrients in 1 apple in the 20s or 30s- yikes!)


AGS July 27, 2009 at 6:18 pm

I really enjoyed reading others thoughts on buying organic. I generally don’t. I am of the mindset that it is best to buy local produce — that is just my general approach. I don’t feel right purchasing something organic, when I can support some of my small local farmers (who often times use relatively small amounts of pesticides in comparison to larger growers — or some don’t use any, but can’t afford the expensive certification process).

Buying local can, however, be a little limiting. . . I can’t purchase spinach year-round that way. So I oftne purchase organic spinach and greens b/c my husband and consume so much of them and they are higher-risk for pesticides.


Susan July 27, 2009 at 6:19 pm

I’m the exact same as you. I try to buy things like tomatoes, apples, peaches, etc organic. Everything else, I don’t normally buy organic unless it’s the same price as the inorganic variety.

I’m most concerned about my milk and meat products, because I think it’s most important health wise for those to be organic. But the price can be double, even triple, the regular price! I can’t afford that. I’d have two tubs of yogurt to live off for the week and that’s it! :P


Shelby July 27, 2009 at 7:15 pm

I go by the Dirty Dozen list when buying organic. Then I just get a couple things on the organic list and most of my produce from the non organic list.


Heather July 27, 2009 at 7:21 pm

I tend to buy the dirty dozen organic when I can find them, but I have a difficult time buying organic produce that was shipped from millions of miles away versus buying conventional produce that was grown locally. It’s such a dilemma. There are many things I can buy in bulk that are much cheaper, so I go with those, especially spinach/lettuces, raspberries, carrots and celery. I ALWAYS buy organic greens and try for other things, but at this point, I can’t buy organic exclusively solely for cost alone. I know that it’s “worth it” for my health but sometimes your wallet won’t always let you.


Michelle Gay July 27, 2009 at 7:49 pm

It is such an interesting and ironic situation in the ‘western’ world–organic. When I went to Timor EVERYTHING was organic, because they coudln’t afford pesticides and/or fertilizer. The chickens were normal sized and everything was honestly picked out of the gardens or forest that day.

Thus, when I came back to Oz, I vowed to only eat organic. Yeah, it’s more expensive..but so what? It’s a little bit more…then enjoy what you’re eating and don’t waste food. I go to a local farmers market that only sells organic, and I only eat what’s in season. That’s the other thing that you should be aware of. When buying organic, you most of the time buy seasonal. Grapes shouldn’t be avaliable in winter :)

I only buy organic milk and eggs, meat from a local butcher. It’s not worth risking eating the crap that they put into everything.

Organic…more expensive in the western world, everyday life everywhere else because it’s ironically cheaper. Interesting.

Beyond tastes actually has flavour.


Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope July 27, 2009 at 9:03 pm

I do tend to buy all of my produce and dairy organic whenever available. Although it is more expensive, I think there are many benefits to eating organically. There are many other organic items I buy as well… pasta, crackers, all of my nut butters, cereals, etc. I think many produce items, especially ones with thick inedible skins, are not necessary to buy organically, but I just like knowing that what I fuel myself has been grown chemical free and in a healthy environment.



Nina July 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm

hahah! My husband just said “is that our pantry? we have all that stuff”. hehe!!

I was trying to convince him to buy a CSA this fall as well, but we just read an article about a farm in Norwood, MA that cancelled their entire season! I have to research it more to see if the consumers will get their money back. yikes!


Anna July 27, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Yes yes yes definitely buy a CSA share! You will not be disappointed. Check out series of CSA posts- I’m a huge proponent of local agriculture.


Pauline July 27, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Hi Angela!

I love your site, I’ve been a follower for awhile now and your site really inspires me to take care of myself!

I was wondering where you get Almond Breeze- I live in Alberta and I can’t find it anywhere!


MB July 28, 2009 at 10:52 pm

I put more emphasis on local and fresh/seasonal than on organic.
We’re blessed here with year-round farmer’s markets, and a wide variety of produce. One of the nice things about meeting the grower is getting to discuss face-to-face how your food was raised. Most of our local farmers use no synthetic fertiliers or pesticides, but have not paid to go through the certification process (expensive in the US).


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