How to Eat Organic Without Going Bankrupt

lettuceWhat's the number-one reason why more people don't buy organic food? Because it's darn expensive. Organic food almost always costs more than conventional food -- at least that's the case at the grocery store. It seems kind of unfair that not everyone can afford to eat lettuce that hasn't been sprayed with chemicals or grown on soil loaded with fertilizers made from petroleum, but that's the world we live in. Oh well!

Are there any exceptions to that rule? If there were, would you buy more organic food?

Turns out if you're willing to go just a little bit out of your way, you can buy organic and save money -- on a few fruits and veggies, anyway. Keep reading to find out where.


Turns out some organic foods at the farmers' market are cheaper than the same conventional foods at the grocery store! That's the case in Vermont, anyway. A recent comparison of grocery store produce and farmers' market produce there revealed a few surprises, including that organic is a lot closer to affordable at the farmers' market.

The standout is lettuce. Organic lettuce at the farmers' market is $6.61 a pound, while the same conventionally grown lettuce is $9.64 a pound at the grocery store. Three bucks cheaper! Organic farmers' market cantaloupe and snow peas are also cheaper than conventional at the grocery store.

Comparing organic apples to organic apples, farmers' markets are still cheaper. On average, organic at the farmers' market is 38% cheaper than at the grocery store. That means if you spent $30 on organic produce at the grocery store, you could get the same stuff at the farmers' market for $18.60. You would save $11.40.

And when it comes to conventional foods at the farmers' market vs. at the grocery store, the farmers' market is still a better deal. On average, fruits and vegetables at the farmers' market were found to be 9-19% less expensive than those found at the grocery stores. (The big exception is potatoes -- those are consistently more expensive at the farmers' market.)

What's more, a lot of the produce sold at the farmers' market as "conventional" is very close to organic. Many small-to-midsized farms grow food using organic practices but aren't officially certified organic by the USDA. All you have to do is ask the farmers (since they're right there) what kinds of pest control and fertilizers they use.

Have you compared prices at the grocery store and your nearest farmers' market?

Image via La Grande Farmers' Market/Flickr

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