With 20 million Canadians purchasing organic products every week, the discussion around organics has grown much louder over the last few years. The question many of us are asking is “are organic products worth the price?” Depending on your region, organic products can be 20% higher than the cost of non-organic goods. If you are not currently shopping organic, you may be shaking your head or tearing out your hair at the mere thought a potentially astronomical grocery bill. However, there are many important factors and solutions to these potential costs. Now, you may be asking yourself “what do tomatoes have to do with the cost of organics?” Allow me to elucidate.
Many shoppers prefer the prettiest and most aesthetically appetizing fruits and vegetables, assuming that appearance translates into flavour. As a result, over the last few decades farmers have been breeding only the nicest and reddest tomatoes in order to genetically change the growth of tomatoes to grow them seemingly blemish free in order to attract shoppers. The result? These genetically modified tomatoes are not able to naturally produce the protein that produces the tasty fruit’s sugar. Meaning non-organic tomatoes have a tendency to be less flavourful. You can tell the difference between genetically altered and non-genetically altered tomatoes by their colour as they ripen. Genetically altered tomatoes will be entirely light green in colour, whereas if they are not altered they will have dark green flesh around the top as it ripens.
Organic tomatoes, on the other hand, are produced without chemicals and genetic modification to move things along. As a result, farmers spend more time labouring to grow not only a plentiful crop, but one that meets consumer standards. Furthermore, in order to grow the healthiest soil for crops, they use an age-old technique called crop rotation (as opposed to pesticides) to create a nutrient rich and ecosystem thriving soil. These things all take more time. In other words, imagine your food as your child – a beautiful, tasty, tomato child. When an organic farmer raises your Tomato Child, they are tending to its needs as it grows, in the best possible soil, and putting in labour when necessary. When it is all grown up and ready to go to market, you have a loved and healthy product. Having the knowledge that your food was grown and raised ethically without chemicals is a huge relief. By wanting the best for your Tomato Child, you are getting the best for you. So what can we do to cut down on organic costs?
Shop local: Shopping local cuts down on travel costs, which is great for you and your food, but also for the environment. And with 3732 organic farms across Canada, there are plenty of organics to go around. By doing a simple Google search and checking your local paper you can find a local market selling organic foods or an organic producer that best suits your needs.
Shop for goodness not for looks: Like people, fruits and veggies come in all shapes and sizes. By keeping in mind that no matter what your produce looks like, they still have the same health benefits as “beautiful” fruits. Keep your eyes peeled for the Loblaws No-Name Naturally Imperfect campaign which offers ugly produce at 30% off. Organic Week
Events Page: With Organic Week looming on the horizon, you can regularly check our events page to see what organic events are happening in your neighborhood. Celebrating our organic producers and retailers can only do great things for the organic market. Bonus: it’s fun!