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Apr 24, 2008 07:50 AM

Cost of Organics: What's Your Limit?

I try to buy organic for certain food, like peppers. Yesterday, at my local market, the going rate was $8 for two green peppers. Yowza! It's no breaking news that food prices are going up. What's your limit in terms of buying organic? Or do you not have any and will continue to buy organic in spite of the cost?

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  1. I won't pay extra simply because it's organic.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Davwud

      Same here. I'll pay extra if it tastes better. I find organic apples better, but bananas taste the same to me.

    2. A lot of the farms near me are not certified organic, but raise their foods in the same way. I will usually opt for these foods as they’re local, fresh, and are the same thing; they just haven’t paid for certification.

      I don’t typically buy organic for everything, but there are certain items I do prefer to buy organic. If one of these items were ridiculously priced like those green peppers, I would just go without. Sometimes I’ll sub in the cheaper stuff from the grocery store, but not all too often.

      One of my preferred organic/all natural foods is beef – I’ve found I really prefer the taste of all natural beef. At double to triple the price of beef in the supermarkets, I usually buy beef sparingly from a local butcher and will stretch it in recipes. More often than not, though, I just don’t buy it and eat more vegetarian fare.

      1. The packer "Bunnyluv" packs carrots grown on their Holtville, CA fields. They also grow and pack organic carrots on adjacent fields. They use the same foreman, the same migrant farm workers and the same equipment to harvest the fields.

        However, when they get to the market, the regular carrots go for 0.39/lb and the organic carrots for $1.39/lb. (The prices are from a couple of years ago. I am sure that both have increased somewhat.)

        Even talking with some of the producer's employees, I an unable to justify in my mind the large differences in price between the two.

        For the record, most of the carrots we eat are provided by by 78 yo father and his summer garden.

        1. I agree with yumcha. If it is a few cents difference (e.g. if organic milk is on sale), then I'll buy the organic, but most times, I get the rBST free, hormone-free eggs, milk, dairy, instead of the full-on organic. As for produce, I buy all of my produce at the farmer's market, and as long as they don't spray or use pesticices, I don't care.

          The only exception is with salad, since I don't like to take the time to wash it, I buy organic prewashed.

          Also, with strawberries, I will pay extra to not buy ones that use methyl bromide, since CA strawberry growers are the largest group of people who apply for exemptions to the Federal limit or something like that.

          But for $8 for two green peppers, I'll just either not buy or buy the conventional ones.

          I know that conventional bananas have very minimal traces of pesticides, so I usually buy conventional, even though the organic ones are only 10 cents more. Actually, with bananas, I just grab the first thing I see.

          4 Replies
          1. re: anzu

            DH eats bananas every day and finds that the organic ones taste a lot better. Not sure if it's true (as I'm not the banana connoisseur he is) or if it's marketing -- as he kept saying Fiji water was better than our filtered water until a blind taste test showed otherwise.

            For organic -- I've found that celery is always better organic and will purchase it no matter the cost (unless it's something ridiculous). And I probably wouldn't have purchased those bell peppers.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              Funny, but I find alot of organic fruits don't taste as good as their conventional counterparts. This is esp. true with fuji apples, mandarin oranges, and, yes, bananas.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Or carrots:

                "Today, high-sugar carrot lines are specifically grown for their market and storage characteristics. High sugar content improves marketability by improving eating quality, and increasing storage life by maintaining moisture content in the stored vegetable."


              2. re: Miss Needle

                The Fresh Market here sometimes sells a type of organic bananas that seem to be a slightly different subspecies of 'naner than the usual grocery store banana, whether the usual is organic or standard.

                We buy the FM organics when we see them because there does seem to be a subtle taste difference.

            2. I get an organic box of vegetables delivered every week, but mainly because I want to support British farmers and avoid the supermarkets. It costs me around ten pounds a week.

              I think fresh is better than organic, tbh. In relation to the organic vs non-organic carrots, presumably they're more expensive because the yield is less, and because they require more labour in terms of weeding etc.