Eating organic is one of the healthiest choices a family can make. Food grown without toxic chemicals is not only healthier, but also good for the earth. Studies have confirmed organic foods tend to have more nutritional content and very often taste better. However many consumers who wish to eat organic have found prices to be a hurdle to purchasing more often. We’ve listed 7 tips for buying organic without breaking the budget.
1) Buy organic only for the foods you eat most often like weekly staples such as milk, bread or yogurt.
2) Prioritize: Buy organic for items that tend to contain the most contaminates. This year’s “dirty dozen” list of fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue from highest to lowest are peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce, and potatoes. Download a wallet guide at Organic.org and see the list of the 12 least contaminated foods, too.
3) Buy organic fruits and vegetables in their peak season. When it’s strawberry season, stores will likely charge only about 50 cents more for a package of organic strawberries. Blueberries and many other fruits and veggies, like corn, can be bought and frozen for winter months.
4) Buy store brand organic foods. The grocery chain Stop & Shop sells an organic brand called “Nature’s Promise” where customers can find everything from cereal and milk to oatmeal and pasta. Often these are cheaper than its non-organic name brand versions. Waldbaum’s offers a “Green Way” organic line and almost all other retail chains carry at least some variety of an organic store brand version.
In Long Island, several national health food retailers also manufacture their own store brands. Check out Wild By Nature (4 Long Island locations), Whole Foods (several Long Island locations) and Trader Joe’s in Lake Grove or Commack.
6) Start in the backyard and plant an organic garden. Grow simple fruits, vegetables and herbs at home (even in pots), and have delicious, fresh, environmentally-healthy fare on hand. There’s nothing like picking a salad from the backyard!
7) We’ve saved the best for last. Support Long Island by shopping at local organic farms, farmers markets or joining a CSA (community supported agriculture program).
Long Island offers several organic farms. Check their websites to learn which farmers markets they are participating in.
Crossroads Farm at Grossmans
Certified organic, this 5 acre farm in Nassau is operated by the Nassau land trust. Crossroads Farm offers educational programs as well as an indoor farmstead offering seasonal produce.
Where: 480 Hempstead Avenue, Malverne, NY
Hours: Hours may vary, please call
Garden of Eve Organic Farm
Garden Of Eve has over 50 certified organic acres, 1000 hens, produce, and flowers. They offer farm tours, participate in farmers markets and 13 CSA locations, have a store on the site and have several family events throughout the year including a popular garlic festival in the Fall.
Where: Sound Avenue, Aquebogue, NY
Hours: Open daily April 1-Thanksgiving
Golden Earthworm Organic Farm
80 acres of active crops grow a variety of organic produce. This farm is a CSA serving the local community and Queens. The Farm also offers a farm stand on site.
Where: 652 Peconic Bay Boulevard, Riverhead, NY
Hours: Open Fridays and Saturdays
Green Thumb Organic Farm
Farming since the 1600’s, this family farm is committed to growing the best food possible for the healthiest planet. They participate in CSAs in several locations.
Where: 829 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, NY
Hours: Hours may vary, please call
Hamlet Organic Farm
Since 1996, Hamlet Organic Farm has been an important part of the community farm. Situated on 5 acres, this form participates in a CSA and also offers a farm stand on site.
Where: 118 South Country Road, Bellport, NY
Hours: Saturday — May-September from 9 am-12 pm
Sang Lee Farms
Sang Lee Farms participates as a CSA. It is a farmstead and farmers market. This farm sells some unique produce such as Asian greens, and also offers other vegetables, herbs, flowers, jellies, and dressings. Free tastings are available.
Where: 25180 Sound Avenue, Peconic, NY
Hours: Spring — Sunday-Thursday 9 am-5 pm, Saturday-Sunday 9 am-6 pm. Summer — Monday-Saturday 9 am-6 pm, Sunday 9 am-5 pm
By Debra Ferrie