Sunday, April 26, 2009

Organic Produce: The results are in

Ok, the results are in. I took to the streets for my organic produce expose and had a lot of fun documenting produce prices while getting a few weird looks. One guy even asked me if I was a spy! I'm not sure what kind of spy snaps pictures of organic lettuce, but I got a kick out of it. I also learned that Ukrops has a "no cameras" policy in the store. Ooops. Anyways, I visited two of Richmond's major supermarkets Kroger and Ukrops (I won't set food in a Food Lion) and discovered that organic produce is indeed more expensive, but it really depends on what you're buying. Organic fruits give you more bang for the buck than veggies.

If you want to buy organic and price is important check out the fruit section. Both supermarkets had organic apples for the same price as the pesticide laden ones. This is good news because studies have shown that apples are one of those fruits that you really should buy organic. Peaches, pears and strawberries also rank high on the pesticide list. Bananas not so much because the peel protects the fruit from pesticides. That's good news because organic bananas were priced at leas thirty cents more at every store I checked. If you are looking for a deal on organic fruit one thing to be aware of is the season. Kroger had a large display advertising mangos for $0.99 each while over in the corner organic mangos were priced at $0.69. This coincides with start of mango season. I assume that as the weather warms up more and more organic fruits like peaches, plums, and nectarines on sale.

Then there are tomatoes. Yes tomatoes are really fruits and if you want to see why you should be buying organic do the tomato test. Buy one organic and and one regular tomato take them home and compare. Not only will the color red be much deeper in the organic, but the taste is phenomenally better. Its amazing. My first introduction to organic food was actually the tomato test at an organic farm over ten years ago at summer camp. Since then tomatoes are just one of those things I always buy organic. Lucky me the price is usually the same. Especially when they are in season during the summer months.

Vegetables are another story. From eggplant, to cabbage, to green peppers I found organic veggies to be double to triple the price. I think the biggest disparity I saw was organic red cabbage at Kroger priced at $1.99 with regular at $0.67. Good news is that organic lettuce is about the same as regular and sometimes a little cheaper.

On a side note. I don't want to name names or anything, but the little health food store in the fan named after an intersection has the highest prices of the bunch. However, they only sell organic and for that they get a gold star. I'm going to have to drive out to Short Pump later in the week to see how Whole Foods compares.

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