Buying Organic Food

Buying Organic Food

tomato-postYears ago, the only way to buy organic food was to go to a farmer’s market or a specialty store, but today there are many more options. Whole Foods, for example, now has 194 stores nationwide, and there are more than 250 Trader Joe’s locations — both great places to find lots of organics. But now that organics have gone “mainstream,” many more sources are available. Your local chain grocery store probably stocks at least some organic produce, plus an array of organic packaged foods from household names like General Mills, Kraft and Kellogg — although some of these companies are using different brand names for their organic lines. And then there’s Wal-Mart, which is the nation’s largest seller of organic milk.

Getting the most from your money

Organics do tend to be more expensive than conventionally produced foods. That’s why advice from a February 2006 Consumer Reports article is so valuable. They identified which organic foods give you the best “bang for the buck.” Foods like apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach and strawberries tend to carry pesticide residues even after washing, so CR recommends paying the premium for the security of knowing that there was no pesticide to begin with. They also recommend organic baby food (since babies are particularly sensitive to toxins) and meat, poultry, eggs and dairy, which do not carry things like mad cow disease and various hormones and antibiotics like conventional products can. CR recommends against buying organic seafood, since the main worries with fish are mercury and PCB contamination — two things that organic certification does not guarantee against.

Frequent Fliers

Food shipped by air really racks up global warming emissions. Here’s a hotlist of commonly air-freighted foods and their country of origin. Try to get these at a local farmer’s market when they’re in season. (They’ll taste a lot better, too).

  • Asparagus (Peru)
  • Bell peppers (Netherlands)
  • Tomatoes (Netherlands)
  • Blackberries (Chile)
  • Blueberries (Argentina)
  • Cherries (Chile)
  • Raspberries (Chile)
  • Peaches (Chile)
  • Nectarines (Chile)
  • Papayas (Brazil)



Community Food Bank Farmers Market– 3003 S. Country Club Road. 8a.m.- noon 622-0525


Downtown Farmers Market and Arts and Crafts Mercado– Joel D. Valdez main Library, 101 . Stone Ave. 8a.m.-2p.m. 326-7810

University of Arizona Farmers Market– West end of UA Mall in front of the Student Union Memorial. 9 a.m.- 1:30p.m.


Santa Cruz River Farmers Market– NE corner of Speedway Blvd. & Riverview (between El Rio Center & Ariz. School for the Deaf & Blind) 3-6 p.m.

Tubac Farmers Market– Parque de Anza adjacent to the village of Tubac. Take Interstate 19 south to Exit 34, then go east to Barrio de Tubac. 10a.m.- 2 p.m. 793-8344


El Barrio Farmers Market- 1001 S. Sixth Ave. 8 a.m. 7 p.m. 792-0747

El Presidio Mercado- El Presidio Park, West Alameda Street near North Church Avenue.10a.m.-4 p.m. 326-7810

Friday’s Farmer’s Market at Broadway Village- corner of Broadway and Country Club 8am- 1pm. Tucson’s only indoor farmer’s market


El Barrio Farmers Market – 1001 S. Sixth Avenue 8 a.m. -7 p.m. 792-0747 Oro Valley Farmers Market– Oro Valley Town Hall, 11000 N La Canada Drive. 9a.m.- 1 p.m. 918-9811

Plaza Palomino Saturday Market– 2970 N. Swan Road 10 a.m- 2 p.m.

Rincon Valley Farmers Market- 12500 E. Old Spanish Trail, four miles east of Saguaro National Park. 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. 591-2276


El Barrio Farmers Market- 1001 S. Sixth Avenue 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. 792-0747

St. Philip’s Plaza Farmers Market- 4380 N. Campbell Ave. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 918-9811

Civano Artisans and Farmers Market– Civano Nursery, 5301 S. Houghton Road. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 248-9218

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