I choose organic because I believe it is the healthiest option for me and my family and because I feel strongly about supporting the organic food industry. I believe that organic farming is better for our eco-system as a whole; and because it is important to me to use my consumer dollars to support businesses that are doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do -- businesses that are helping to find a solution to our health and environmental challenges rather than contributing to their causes. (For more reasons to choose organic, watch the videos below.)
I have been interested in the concept of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for quite a while. When you join a CSA you basically are supporting a farmer who is growing food for you and delivering it to a location near you within a day or two of harvest. I recently discovered a local CSA; have joined and I am terribly excited about this latest venture in my healthy living journey! Now that I spend most of my time in New York, I've joined a CSA with my daughter and her husband that delivers to a location very close to their home. There are actually quite a few CSAs in the New York City area. Our CSA, Ozone Park CSA is a non-profit all-volunteer, neighborhood-based group, managed and organized by its members with a mission to bring fresh, local, organic fruits and vegetables to the neighborhood at a low cost. They also offer options for organic milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, honey and granola.
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People often ask me where I shop or recommend for organic foods. Of course that will now change during CSA season which typically runs from June through November. However, in Pennsylvania, I find that Giant carries a very good selection of organic produce and other foods at reasonable prices; and in New York, Giant's sister store Stop & Shop carries the same Nature's Promise brand. There's also Whole Foods (formerly Fresh Fields) and Trader Joe's where a lot of people shop, but I advise shoppers to be selective as not all of their products are organic or non-GMO. There are also speciality stores like Kimberton Whole Foods in Downingtown, Kimberton and Douglassville PA, Martindale's in Springfield, (Delaware County) PA and Arrowroot in Bryn Mawr. Some of those tend to be a bit pricey.
I often encourage people to shop at BJ's Wholesale Club where I organic food shop quite frequently. My BJ's in PA and in NY carry an ever increasing line of organic produce, dairy products, eggs, frozen vegetables, meats, spices, and many other items at very good prices. (Although I don't shop at Costco, I understand that they also carry a nice selection of organic foods.)
At this time of year, colorful displays of locally grown fruits and vegetables start popping up at farmers markets and grocery stores. I like the idea of supporting local farmers; but not if it means compromising my personal preference for organic. The ideal choice for me is organic and local, but unfortunately local farmers don't necessarily engage in organic farming practices. Many people like to buy their produce from Amish and Mennonite farmers; however once again, that does not guarantee that you are purchasing organic products. IT'S IMPORTANT TO ASK! A few years ago, I got quite a scolding from a local farmer at a Pennsylvania stand where I often shopped for garden plants and flowers. I asked if her beautiful large red strawberries were organic. They were not and she felt compelled to quite angrily and loudly voice her feelings about organic standards! I thanked her, left her stand without making a purchase and never returned again!