first off, after an entire summer of eating local produce only, i am sad to say that we have fallen way off track. i blame lucy entirely. she started on solids and felt that she wouldn't be a real baby unless she got a taste of her first banana. so down to trader joe's we went, and picked one up along with the rest of the weeks groceries. that single banana turned out to be my downfall, as lucy rather liked it, and the next time i happened by the grocery store, i not only bought a couple more bananas, but a bag of spinach (which i needed to make soup) that i couldn't have gotten until our next farmer's market, which was still several days away. well, the next time i hit the grocery store it was for more bananas, and suddenly all hell broke loose and wouldn't you know it, your loyal blogger was walking around with a shopping cart full of organic, yet very non-local produce. my most embarrassing purchase? garlic imported from mexico. i happen to live less than 2 hours away from gilroy, which is the garlic capital of the world. and here i am mincing mexican garlic for pizza.
shame on me.
well, tonight i did go grocery shopping. i got those darn bananas and some organic salad mix for dinner tonight, but held off on all other produce purchases. i am dragging myself down to the farmer's market tomorrow, rain or shine. (let's hope for more sunshine though... it was a balmy 74 degrees here today!).
so there's that.
and here's the other topic on my mind: organics.
it should be noted that i have put myself on a "loose" weekly budget of $100 for food and gas. i say "loose" because, well, it's loose. if i need to go over, i do. but having $100 cash in my wallet at the beginning of the week has really served to show me just how much i am spending. which has me thinking a lot about the cost of buying organic.
i think that trader joe's (where i do the vast bulk of my everyday shopping) does a great job of offering a wide range of organic products at fairly reasonable prices. still, there are common areas where organic costs are significantly higher--dairy and meat, most notably. at this point, i'm pretty willing to take the extra expense and buy organic whenever it is offered as an option, even if it means that i have to cut back in other areas. but i can't say our diet is 100%, or even 80% organic. right now i think we're hovering somewhere in the 70% range.
you're probably already familiar with the "dirty dozen," a list of the 12 major offending fruits & vegetables when it comes to pesticide contamination. i'll post them anyway as a reference--this list has been compiled by the environmental working group.
grapes imported from chile
in additon, here's a list of f&v that contain little to no pesticide residue:
easy enough. soft stuff acts like a sponge, stuff with a tough exterior or inedible peel is not an issue. but when it comes to other grocery items, (olive oil, beans, beer, butter, crackers, nuts, chocolate, eggs) the method for selecting isn't so clear. here's my take, thought it's probably not unique: as consumers, we "vote" with our dollars. buying organic as much as possible will raise demand, which will lower prices and increase buying options overall(that's my 9th grade economics at work for you). it shouldn't be forgotten that organic farming is typically far gentler on the earth than traditional "mono-cropping." this is not to say that all organic is created equal--in efforts to supply consumers with organic items at lower prices, stores (such as, but not limited to, walmart) will transport items from overseas, where regulations can be a bit shifty. transport also results in unnecessary greenhouse gasses. which means oftentimes it is best to buy local, even if a farm is not certifiably organic.
what's a girl to do?
debate and ponder and label-read in the middle of the aisle. search out new options. get back to the local market. try to stick to the $100 limit without going crazy. feed the little one only top-notch stuff, even if it means taking a hit somewhere else. hope for the best.
i'm saving another food-related topic for tomorrow's post... check back!