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Carolyn Hax

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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 03/29/2011

Does buying organic food in this economy make sense?

While I was researching this week’s “Eat, Drink and Be Healthy” column about juicers and juicing, it occurred to me to ask a question you never see on any of the Web sites devoted to the practice: How expensive does daily juicing become when you’re feeding more produce into the machine than you’d likely eat in a day?

Experts I talked to pointed out that frozen vegetables and fruits work well in juicers and are generally less expensive than fresh produce. And, climate permitting, you could cut costs by growing your own.

The question takes a new twist, though, when you start talking about juicing organic vegetables and fruits. Some argue that you should stick mostly to organic produce when juicing because the pesticides and other chemicals in conventionally farmed foods become concentrated in the juice you make, rendering your healthful elixir somewhat less healthful.

Though many consumers remain convinced that organic produce is more nutritious than conventional, science doesn’t bear that out. 

So why are people still spending money on the stuff? According to this account , people have been buying loads of organic produce, despite the economic recession. 

Well, maybe they – unlike me – aren’t looking ahead to two sets of college tuitions in the next few years.

I don’t know about you, but I really noticed the impact of the highest hike in food prices since November 1974, as recorded by the U.S. Department of Labor and reported – and explained – in this article. Apparently the biggest chunk of the recent increase is attributable to the soaring cost of produce. 

Organic or not, it’s getting harder to feed a family nutritious food on a budget. For me, organic food is completely out of the question right now. I can hardly bear to pay what I’m paying for regular apples, red peppers and citrus fruit as it is. 

How about you? Do you opt for organic food, despite the cost? Does that mean cutting back somewhere else? 

(Just for fun: Check out this 1972 newspaper article describing the public response to a new organic-produce venture in San Francisco. The headline: “Housewives leery of organic foods”.


By Jennifer Huget  |  07:00 AM ET, 03/29/2011

 
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