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Do You Still Buy Organic?

This story caught my eye this morning. It's about the plight of organic dairy farmers who saw their sales shoot up during boom times but now are stuck with a glut of hormone-free milk.

I've gotten several pitches in my inbox from publicists alternately claiming the organic movement is dead or that is has proved remarkably recession proof. To be honest, I never fully embraced organic goods because they often seemed much more expensive than conventional products. I was also never appropriately afraid of toxic chemicals, I guess.

Have any of you changed your habits? Did you buy organic before the recession? Are you still buying it now?

By Ylan Mui  |  May 29, 2009; 12:49 PM ET
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Good question...Because I have 2 growing girls in my home, I am conscience of the hormones in dairy which I would like to reduce their exposure to so I still buy organic milk. Doesn't help when we buy pizza, of course. I also plan to buy organic, porous summer fruits and berries. What I can't and won't buy are organic meat and poultry.

Posted by: flabbergast | May 29, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

We try to buy organic when we can but also stick to our budget. Knowing guidelines on buying organic produce has helped a lot, as flabbergast mentioned above about porous fruits and berries.

As for milk, we started buying organic about a year ago when we realized that we were throwing out half empty half-gallons of milk that had gone bad before we could use it all (just my husband and me, no kids yet). The organic milk only costs a dollar or so more per half-gallon and it lasts so much longer so we don't waste it. Plus, I think it tastes better.

If there is a good sale on organic meat at our store, we'll buy it. Trying to eat less meat overall, though.

Posted by: apfromal | May 29, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

My budget is a small thing when it comes to my children's health. I would never compromise it and I truly believe that buying fruit and vegetables with pesticides does. We rarely use processed foods, too. Sometimes it is frustrating and sometimes we buy regular stuff, but given the choice, it is always organic.

Posted by: Stormy1 | May 29, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I used to buy organic foods several years ago. I do think they taste better and are of better quality, but I am simply unwilling to spend hundreds of dollars just to buy organic every month. We just try to stay away from processed foods. Also, I would like to see the results from scientific studies as to the actual health benefits of organic vs non. If there are signifigant benefits, that might help sway the public to want to make organic more affordable.

Posted by: jaxnc06 | May 31, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

When applied to food, "organic" is just a marketing term, like "natural" or "wholesome." Strictly speaking, "organic" means carbon-based. The only non-organic foods out there are water and various minerals.

I've never bought organic because I can't afford it. I don't know of any independent studies that have shown any nutritional difference between organic produce and conventional produce. I'd really like to see the "organic" (and "locavore") movement improve the food supply for everyone, not create an alternate food supply for rich people.

Posted by: LizBetty | May 31, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I still buy organic. I supplement our food needs with our own organic garden, and 'd say 90% of the food we eat is organic. I try to get only what we need so there is no waste. Food planning over impulsively buying, say, grapes because they looked good, goes a long way toward helping the budget.

Posted by: grey2 | May 31, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes. Bought organic before the "recession" and still buying it now.
Re LizBetty comments (above)
No. USDA has defined "organic" (whether you like it or not). There are actually pretty strict standards for a lot of foods.
The Environmental Working Group ( has done a lot to help understand what "organic" means (per USDA) + provide information about what is and isn't worth the organic buy.
When applied to cosmetics, "organic" (and "natural" even) are marketing terms.
Actually - unless in the context of pure chemistry - I think "organic" means from a living water would qualify.
arbon-based. The only non-organic foods out there are water and various minerals.

There *are* studies out there that show benefits of organic / pesticide-free on health (or at least neutrality of impact).

General comment re affordability.
Cost is relative. If you're $$ is more important than your health, then it might be a long time before local/organic is "affordable".
On the other hand, if the opposite is true (health > $$) then it's always affordable.
I find local farmer's markets cost ($$) the same as the stores and the food is better and often pesticide-free (and many times organic).
You're best bet is to know the farmer you're buying from, eat in season, and eat less meat. (pretty sure vegetables, organic or not, cost ($$) less than meat + they're infinitely better for you and require less intensity to cultivate).

Posted by: robjdisc | June 1, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Ylan, there are no toxins in regular milk that are somehow magically removed from organic milk. All milk has to pass the same safety tests, otherwise I'm sure we'd read about it in the A section of the Post.
As LizBetty says above, organic is really just about marketing some extra sizzle, but the steak is still the same.

Posted by: Anondale | June 1, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

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