Last night I bought conventional gala apples at WalMart. Yes, I’m sure they’re covered in pesticides. No, I do not care. Well, not enough, anyway.
I do care about my food. I care enough to buy a share in our local CSA program and coordinate our local Azure drop. I care enough to spend a little more to buy frozen organic berries throughout the year and grow peppers in our garden. I care enough to drive 30 miles round trip, when time allows, for fresh milk and eggs, and we budget to fill our freezer with locally-raised beef. Pesticide-laden apples don’t really fit in our food plan.
I’m cranky that a lot of the fresh food at the store is covered in invisible nastiness. I’m cranky that it’s easier to buy organic cookies than organic fruit, and that an apple costs more than a candy bar. I’m cranky that some of our favorite fruits and veggies are consistently on the dreaded Dirty Dozen.
But also? I’m thankful that I can buy tasty fresh fruit for my family pretty much whenever I want. I’m thankful for at least a little variety in our produce year round. I’m thankful that it’s apples my children are digging for in the refrigerator! It’s not a perfect world we live in, friends, so let’s do what we’ve gotta do.
Azure’s apple season is over and it will be months before I can get a 20 pound box of organics for $23 again. Our neighbor’s tree may or may not produce this year due to the wonky spring weather we’ve had. That doesn’t stop my children from wanting apples every day, and really? There are worse things to want.
It’s a quest, this real food thing. Anyone striving to clean up their diet will tell you it takes some sacrifice. By all means, search out quality sources of food. Buy organic from the Dirty Dozen when you can. Support local farmers who use clean farming practices. Make room in the budget where possible. Be a frequent flyer at the Farmer’s Market. Eat seasonally and locally. Make an extra stop at the health food store. Can and freeze summer produce to last through the winter.
But when it’s all too much? When the 99 cent strawberries are making you drool? When apples are out of season but conventionals are still being shipped to your local grocer?
Do not fear the apple. Buying organic and local is not the end all. Working your whole life and budget and time and energy around only the highest of in-season, quality, “safe” food is not going to earn you a gold star.
If you want the apple, buy the apple. Eat it. Enjoy it. It’s an apple.
I remember my friend Carrie once asking, “Which is better: organic oreos or conventional strawberries?” What say you, friends? Do you fear the (conventional) apple? Do you reduce your produce consumption when it’s not organic? Should we eat more organic cookies and fewer fruits and veggies? (Well that’s just silly…) What are you willing to sacrifice? What won’t you sacrifice? Do you give it a second thought?
This week’s shopping:
WalMart, $46.76 ~ 4 1/2 dozen eggs (I reeaaaly need to get out to the farm!), flour, cocoa powder, sugar, brown sugar, pizza sauce raisins, picante, corn tortillas, peppermint tea, apples, milk, strawberries, bananas
Dillons, $23.69 ~ (This was my first couponing trip in months. Saved 60% and “bought” 4 FREE boxes of baby wipes. Woot!) ~ 2 boxes Cascadian Farms cereal ($1.00 each), 4 boxes Philly Cream Cheese (50 cents each), 4 Kraft mozzarella cheese ($1.50 each), ham and turkey ($1.27 each), tortilla chips ($1.00), reduced organic salad ($1.79), reduced mushrooms ($1.79), 2 turkey bacon ($1.50 each), Annie’s Mac&Cheese (30 cents)
April Grocery Total: $434.21
May Grocery Total: $456.82
June Groceries so far: $215.13