Friday, August 13, 2010

Buying Local Organic Veggies and kids snacks!

Happy friday!  I'm bummed we couldn't watch the meteor shower in the early hours of the morning, darn marine layer!  At least it's sunny now and the heat is going to start cranking up in these next few days. Bring it on, I'm ready. 

Below is a cute little fellow that I found  in our kitchen, no tail of course the cat,  a couple of days ago when we got home from a day of shopping.  These little lizards are everywhere right now.  So cute!
 At the end of my last post I showed this photo below, of these beautiful organic vegetables and asked how much you thought they cost. There are 6 cucumbers, 8 large zucchinis, 2 large heads of lettuce, 5 beets, 1 large sweet onion, 2 lemons, head of garlic, 1 small silverline melon and 1 bunch of parsley.

 The answer: $11.25!  We are pretty lucky to have so many farms near us.  These vegetables are from a cute Organic Farm Stand that is based on an honor system.  It's about 7 min.or so from our place.  You can walk across the road and pick your own strawberries if you wish.  Every item has a price written down above or below it.  They use a wine barrel with a slot on top to slide your money in and a small carafe to put your change in.  The cucumbers and zucchinis were 6  & 8 for a dollar.  They were sitting in a basket in the sun so they want them to be bought first.  They were all fresh, no mushy ones at all.  The heads of lettuce are huge and sell for $1.50 each.  It's the silverline melon that cost me the $2 but it smelled so good I had to try it.

I know people are always saying how organic is more money but there are costs from not buying organic or pesticide free.  The cost is your health.  Eating pesticides is not good for you.  Are you going to spray chemicals on your fruit and eat it or let your kids eat it? No.  Then what's the difference if someone else has for you?  They have done many studies to show that pesticides can't just be washed off and goes deeper into the food. There is a list you have probably seen regarding the the dirty dozen(most sprayed foods) and the clean 15(least sprayed with pesticides. If you can't buy all of your food organic at least buy those that are on the list below.  (you'll notice that alot of the conventional ones on the list that are safe to eat have skins that we peel off before we eat anyways.)
Buy Organic: Peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, pears, grapes(imported), spinach/kale/collard greens, lettuce, potatoes.
Okay to buy conventional: onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mango, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, canteloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potatoes and sweet onions.

Why does organic cost more money in the first place? Here is a great paragraph I found at describes it in detail for you.
"The cost of organic food is higher than that of conventional food because the organic price tag more closely reflects the true cost of growing the food: substituting labor and intensive management for chemicals, the health and environmental costs of which are borne by society. These costs include cleanup of polluted water and remediation of pesticide contamination. Prices for organic foods include costs of growing, harvesting, transportation and storage. In the case of processed foods, processing and packaging costs are also included. Organically produced foods must meet stricter regulations governing all these steps than conventional foods. The intensive management and labor used in organic production are frequently (though not always) more expensive than the chemicals routinely used on conventional farms. There is mounting evidence that if all the indirect costs of conventional food production were factored into the price of food, organic foods would cost the same, or, more likely, be cheaper than conventional food. Cost, however, is very dependent upon market venue and consumer product choice. It is possible to consume a moderately priced diet of organic foods by purchasing directly from farmers at venues such as farmers markets, and by choosing unprocessed organically grown foods at the grocery store."

Ways to buy organic/pesticide at a less costly price to you.
 1)One way to cut costs on your fruit and vegetables is to eat in season.  You will notice that they are always less money in season.  Have you tried buying bell peppers these past months?  They are quite expensive and most are from Mexico.  They are not in season but will be very soon.  Then you'll see the prices drop.ket.

2)Check out your local farm/Farmers Market.  There is no middle man when you buy your fruits and veggies this way.  It's from the farm to you! Some farms you can pick your own, which is even less money.  Also go to the Farmers Market when they are about to close.  They will make some great deals with you because they would rather not have to take as much back with them.  These tomatoes below I buy at our Farmers Market. 

These girls sell tomatoes and basil.  At the end of their stand is a $1 bin , for soft tomatoes,that they keep adding to it during the market.  I actually don't find very many soft tomatoes, but I don't tell them that. lol! The softer ones I use for my pasta sauce.   This bunch was only $2!  A great way to use tomatoes is to make lovely tomato bruschetta, which I did and the recipe is at end of blog. 

So if you want to buy local and eat pesticide free produce you can find the deals.  Also like the paragraph above said.  The more we buy organic the more the prices will come down.  Let's support our local farms!!!!!!
We also found a Strawberry/Rhubarb Pie(no dairy) at our Farmers Market. 
Down the street from us is Buttonwood Winery,their whites and pinks are vegan, during the summer they sale peaches.  These are some of the best peaches and they don't use pesticides.  Did you know that there are different varieties of peaches?  Not just white and yellow I mean varieties like apples?  I just found that out this year too.  Oh, can you smell them?  Yum.  

If you bring back the box that the peaches are in you will get 50cents off your next purchase.  My last purchase was for my in-laws and us and the cute little older man that works there gave me the mom discount.  I think he likes me. hee hee.  Hey whatever works right? 

Regarding some healthy kids snacks.  I usually have some cut up veggies and fruit sitting out on the kitchen counter for Keaton to grab.  Perks of summer, an abundance of fruit and cucumbers! (We love cucumbers). When his friends are over I'll put out a spread like this so they have a variety.  Sometimes I'll put out a hummus dip or something as well.  It's amazing how much growing boys can eat!  I find if you have good food out like this they will eat it.  If you let them into the pantry they will find that bag of chips or crackers, we rarely have chips, and they will eat that.  
Tomato bruschetta is so easy to make and cheap. The only thing I had to buy was the baguette.  If I had yeast on hand I would've made my own and it would have been even cheaper to make.  An appetizer like this at an Italian restaurant for 6 pieces try $8.  We got about 10 pieces costing about $2.20.  We still have left over baguette. 

Tomato Bruschetta
You can adjust according to taste and how many people you are going to serve this to.  

1 lb. fresh tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
2  garlic cloves, finely chopped
1T. Olive oil
5 basil leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 baguette or less
olive oil
1 garlic clove

Finely chop tomatoes and put in a small bowl.  Add the garlic, basil and olive oil.  Add Salt to taste and a bit of fresh ground pepper.  Let sit so flavors can develop. 

When ready to use.  Heat oven to 400 or broil on low.
Slice bagutte into 1/2 inch or less, diagonal slices. Brush one side with olive oil and place the oiled slices down on baking sheet.  Put into oven until a light golden color.  If you are broiling  pay attention because they can burn quickly!  Once you take out of oven, rub a garlic clove over the oiled side of the baguette slice and top with tomato mixture.  Enjoy!

Have a great weekend!


  1. good buys and great food as always. I am going this next week to also buy some organice grown veggies in a farm near my home. This is the best time of the year to stock up the freezer for the winter.

  2. What a cute little lizard! He reminds me of our tropical honeymoon- lizards everywhere :)

  3. Your organic produce costs a lot less than mine. Where I live (which is a fair sized suburbian-type city - pop. 160,000) there is a farmer's market 3 days a week during the summer, but in winter, there is nothing. We don't even have a produce store. It totally sucks. I'm either having to travel (which isn't always cost effective) or buy at the grocery store. Organic produce at supermarkets is sometimes ridiculously expensive or terrible quality. Buying in season isn't always an option for me. I'm in Canada. Nothing is in season from Dec-May except root vegetables from cold storage HAHAHA!! I buy some favourites when they are in season and freeze what I can't eat. Great post though. Keep reminding everyone about the dirty dozen!!
    BTW, that bruschetta is totally drool-worthy.

  4. Sarah- With all of the lizards you probably didn't have to deal with many bugs . that would be a plus!
    Carrie-I'm aware that not everyone has so much available to them year round and I'm so much more appreciative when I hear stories like yours. I'm sorry you have such a hard time with finding quality produce during those cold months. (how do they think they can sell bad produce?) It's nice you have Farmers market 3x a week during the summer. Freezing/canning would probably be the best way to go,like Millie said, so you can enjoy during the winter months. The bruschetta totally rocked!!!

  5. The bruschetta looks fantastic! I could eat pounds and pounds of it!

  6. aww i had a baby lizard in my kitchen too! i trapped it under a cup and released it in my garden. is it okay to touch them? its not like baby birds? i wanted to grab it but was afraid of what it's parents might think if it smelt me on their baby.

  7. Jacklyn-It's okay to touch baby lizards and baby birds too. I don't know how the story got started about baby birds but it's not true and we've saved some from our cat. One time our cat brought one in the house and when I checked it over to make sure it was okay I saw the mother bird on the opposite side of the fence waiting for it. Once the baby bird got it's composure back, they both flew away together. I think it was learning how to fly.

  8. I love it all! Mostly the little lizard. ;) That is all.

  9. Great post with wonderful information! It is amazing how affordable things can get when you eat organic. For me it is trickier in the winter but well worth it to eat healthy, local and organic! I have not made bruschetta all year and it is my favorite. I did just get some pink Himalayan salt and organic peppercorns from Sustainable Sourcing and they would taste great with the tomatoes in my garden. Well, looks like I know what I'm having for lunch!

  10. oh man, what a delicious and mouthwatering post. I was gone all last week and weekend, and I missed my regular farmer's market outings. Now I can hardly wait for tomorrow afternoon. I am going to stock up BIG TIME!!!! I can hardly wait.

    Also, that little lizard is so crazy cute.

    And finally, thank you so much for the tip off about gopher repellent. I am definitely going to track some down and buy it. I don't mind making them a little uncomfortable, but I really don't want to hurt them!

  11. You get great deals on organic produce. I shop the farmers market and they're just a little cheaper than Whole Foods but I'm buying directly from the farmers.

    It's so annoying when I hear on talk shows or on the news, some supposed expert say there's no nutritional difference between organic and conventional. Well, duh, it's the chemicals and pesticide that I'm trying to avoid.

  12. What a cute lil guy, he looks like the geckos we get here!

    And such a great post on buying organic :)