Thursday, February 19, 2009

Shopping for Organic Food

Shopping for organic food items can be a challenge both financially, as they still cost more than conventionally grown items, and due to the fact that they are not as readily available in all areas or food stores. For the past several months I have been keeping an eye open in my own local grocery store and warehouse member club for healthy organic choices. I have to say, I have been pleasantly surprised to find more and more items on the store shelves.

Here are just a few of the stores/resources for tracking down organic food items. In addition to the list below, I am sure you have some great health food stores in your area. Check them out!

Local grocery store chains:

Safeway - They have their own line of organic foods, carry other organic brands, and offer a section for locally grown produce. Safeway is known as a leader among grocery store chains in the area of organic/healthy food offerings.

Kroger - They have their own line of organic foods, carry organic produce and seem to be expanding the organic brands they carry. If you buy organic products regularly and use your Kroger card, you will get coupons for their Private Selection Organic products and/or organic produce at checkout.

Obviously these are just two of the many grocery store chains, so if you have questions about whether or not your store is expanding their organic offerings make sure you ask. If they are carrying more organic they will let you know what and where to find it. If not, express interest in them doing so!

Specialty grocery store chains:

Whole Foods - They pride themselves on the fact that they search for the highest quality, least processed, most flavorful and natural foods possible because they believe that food in its purest state — unadulterated by artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings and preservatives — is the best tasting and most nutritious food there is. The produce section of Whole Foods is beyond compare but you will pay for it. If you are on a budget, keep in mind which fruits and veggies are most important to buy organic.

Trader Joes - Trader Joe's prides itself on providing healthy foods from around the world, all at surprisingly reasonable prices. The store's impressive and delicious store-brand foods contain no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, and no MSG, trans fats or genetically modified ingredients.

Member warehouse clubs:

Costco - Just having been to Costco yesterday, I can personally attest to the fact that they carry some great organic produce and packaged products at reasonable prices if you have a family to feed. For instance, you can't beat the deal on organic spring mix or the little packages of organic baby carrots which are great for the kid's lunches. I also found organic free range chicken broth and organic pasta sauce. You have to look around, products change often.

On-line resources:

Until recently, I had never really considered shopping on-line for organic food items, but once I started searching around I realized that there are lots of items like nuts, dried fruit, raw chocolate, pasta, tea, beans, baking goods, etc. that lend themselves to this type of shopping. Take a look at the following sites. The possibilities are endless.

Sun Organic Farm - Find everything from baking goods, to grains, nuts, bee products and even dog food!

Sunfood - Sunfood owner David Wolfe is the Raw food guru. His store contains goji berries, raw cacao, olives, nuts, seeds, sweeteners and much more!

Fresh Roasted Almond Co. - This company carries dried fruits, nuts, granola and cereals in bulk.

Seasonal resources:

CSA - Community Supported Agriculture is the concept of dealing directly with a local farmer to buy a share of their produce for a season. If you are considering this option for 2009, most farms are taking deposits now. CSA's are a great way to not only get fresh organic produce, eggs, milk or even meat in addition to supporting local farms and environmentally friendly practices. Check Local Harvest for CSA opportunities in your area.

Farmer's Markets - If you are lucky enough to live in a warm climate you may have access to Farmer's Markets all year around, but for those of us experiencing a very chilly winter right now, we will have to wait for the big thaw. Farmer' markets are a great source of locally grown organic foods. Check Local Harvest for Farmer's Markets near you.

Coupon resource:

Mambo Sprouts - This is a site that provides free downloadable coupons for organic/healthy/natural products. In addition to the printable coupons you can sign up to receive their coupon booklet in certain metropolitan areas. Other reasons to check out this site; recipes, articles, contests/giveaways and kids activities.

Sources: CNN Health

Dont forget to enter our current giveaway. All entries due by midnight Monday, Feb. 23!


daedra said...

Anther great place to shop: Plum market, much better prices than WF.
And a note on the baby carrots. In order to make baby carrots did you know they take a whole carrot and shave it down until it's the size of a baby carrot. Think about how much wasted food that creates. Cutting a whole carrot into sticks isn't that difficult of a task and small baggies are pretty easy to use, right?

Living A Whole Life said...

Okay, you got me there Daedra! I am being lazy about my carrots. You are right, I can definitely peel and cut them myself. Thanks for the reality check!


daedra said...

uh, You're welcome! ;)
My best friend actually thought that baby carrots were pulled out of the ground all perfect like that. I actually wonder how many people think that is true!

Living A Whole Life said...

I am sure a lot of people think the same thing. I can honestly say, I never gave it much thought other than I didn't have to peel them. Those days are over... :)

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