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Should You Buy Local Or Organic Produce?

local vs. organic produce

As you infuse your diet with more healthy, whole foods, you may debate buying from a local farmer’s market or farm share program or buying organic produce from your local health food store. But which is better?

Certified Organic Produce

For food to be labeled “certified” organic, it must be planted in organic soil, grown with organic fertilizers, protected with organic pesticides, and meet and pay for the full scope of organic qualifications. This is part of the reason organic costs more. The debate is still out on a scientific level, regarding whether organic produce contains more nutrients, and the extent to which pesticides harm the body, but without a doubt, they are chemical-free.

Local Produce

Many local farmers simply can’t afford organic certification, so don’t shy away from asking if a farmer’s crops are grown organically. While they can’t legally label or call their produce organic, without certification, you are likely to find that many small farmers farm as environmentally-responsible as possible. From a nutritional standpoint, local produce will contain more naturally-occurring vitamins and nutrients. Why? Because produce loses some of its nutritional value when it is harvested. Since local crops are sold right after harvest and need not be shipped, you will enjoy more nutritional value. As a bonus, buying from a farm share or local farmer is almost always less expensive and positively impacts your local environment.

The Dirty Dozen

Another factor to consider is that you may not find the produce you desire year-round or may not be able to afford the costly organic produce prices, unless produce is on sale. Below is the Dirty Dozen produce items you should always buy organic when possible.

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Hot peppers
  • Kale and collard greens

As a bonus tip, buy organic produce in the freezer section and dehydrate, can, and freeze your favorite local and organic produce when on sale.

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