How to: shop organic on a budget

Shop organic on a budget

Choosing to buy organic produce where possible is something that is important to me for several reasons, including:

  1. Reduced exposure to pesticide in food, especially fruit and vegetables. Conventional growers use synthetic pesticides to protect their crops from molds, inspects and diseases. When farmers spray pesticides, this can leave residue on the produce.
  2. Reduced exposure to eating genetically modified food.
  3. Reduced consumption of food additives. Organic regulations ban or severely restrict the use of food additives, processing aids, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colorings and flavourings and monosodium glutamate.
  4. Some studies have indicated the organic food has higher levels of vitamins and minerals.
  5. Protect and support the environment. Organic farming practices are designed to benefit the environment by reducing pollution, conserving water and soil quality.

Understanding why I prefer to buy organic is one thing, but making my food budget work with that choice is a bit of an art – and one that I have perfected over time.

So here are my top tips to have you shopping organically within your budget.

Buy in season – fruit and veggies are much cheaper if you buy them when they are in peak season and they taste a whole lot better. Seafood is generally sweeter and more readily available in the warmer months and sustainable fish will vary from season to season. While some meats are cheaper in season, such as spring lamb.

Shop at your local farmers markets – shop local and you will save money, plus you will be supporting local farmers and businesses. At my local farmers market I scored a whole bowlful of bananas for just 1 pound! Got to love a bargain. Arrive early for the best choice or turn up at the last minute to grab a bargain.

Give priority to the dirty dozen foods – each year the Environment Working Group (EWG) puts together a list of fruit and veggies that contain the highest levels of pesticides even after they are washed, these are called the dirty dozen – and where possible I buy these organic. This year, it includes apples, peaches, strawberries, grapes, spinach, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, potato, kale, collard green. Check out EWG website for the full list.

Make friends with your freezer  – once you have your precious organic produce you don’t want to waste any of it by letting it go off. Allow your fruit and vegetables to ripen, then peel, cut, place in freezer bags and freeze until needed – this works brilliantly for bananas, melon, berries, avocado. Lemons and limes can be squeezed and the juice frozen into ice cube tray, this also works for coconut milk and coconut water. Take advantage of sales or bulk buys.

Save time shop online – if you are time poor then find an organic supplier and shop online. There are several good ones available now that deliver to your door and stock fruit, veggies, meat and poultry. In Australia I like to use Aussie Farmers Direct. While the UK I like use Abel and Cole or Westmill Organics. Some the supermarkets have also started to stock organic produce too.

Take Action: Leave a comment below with your favourite local farmers market?

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One Thought on “How to: shop organic on a budget

  1. Uffington Farmers Market is on once a month and stock a range of fruit, veg, meat, seafood, etc

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