We learned a lot from our exclusive organic foods experience last month. It was expensive, outside what we can allow for groceries each week. Still, there were some takeaways and changes to how we buy our foods as a result.
If you're catching up, here's where we've been:
Buying Organic: Weighing the Costs
Organic Grocery Haul: $112.72
Organics: Responding to Reader Comments
With your help, here are some choices we've made:
- We're consuming less dairy. We realize that the dairy industry isn't the best, so buying organic and/or local is preferable. However, since cheese was nearly double in price from its non-organic counterparts, we've decided to curb our consumption. We only plan to use cheese for 2 meals (or so) per week and buy conventional. If there's a good deal, organic. However, our compromise is buying less.
- We're buying our eggs locally again. We had fallen out of touch with our local egg supplier, but we'll be getting back on track later in the month either through our old contact or through our CSA.
- We're buying local or organic -- for the dirty dozen. That is, to supplement our CSA. Otherwise, conventional. Lately what we've picked up from the farmers market has been MORE than enough for our weekly needs besides fruit. Thankfully, apple season is upon us! We plan to go picking as soon as orchards open.
- We're avoiding packaged foods. During my pregnancy, I fell into the habit of buying convenience foods. Not many, but far more than I ever had before. Now I'm back to making most everything from scratch. It sounds much more labor intensive than it actually is. More on this later in the week.
- We're scoping out local grocers. I've heard of a couple new places to check out. As well, we're going on a hunt for the best bulk deals we can find. This may mean some online shopping. Anyone have tips on where to find the best deals?
- We're feeding Ada organic when possible. She has taken to finger foods (she's eating beets in the photo below) over purees lately, so much of what we've been feeding her has been steamed, chopped up veggies from the farm share. We've also started some protein, for which we've given her egg yolk, tofu, and baby yogurt -- all organic.
- We're putting it in perspective. Thing is, we can't afford all organic. It isn't a values issue for us, it's balance with budget. The fact remains: We do care. So, we figure any step in the "right" direction is a good one.
With this new method, our grocery spending has been about $70 per week, with the CSA figured in. With my new job, it's doable for now, though we'd like to see it back in the $60 sweet spot again sometime soon. I know it seems silly, lamenting over $10 a week, but considering that can add up to $500 a year, it's worth the effort.
Perhaps it'll get better when we can start more preserving and cooking ahead. I have some canning and freezing methods to learn. I may even sign up for a class in our area. I feel like fall and winter foods lend themselves well to big batches.
Do you have any favorite recipes I should try? Our favorite is pumpkin chili. Then we make skillet cornbread fresh to go with it.
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