Get Organic Produce Cheaper

  • There is a Season

    Many shoppers think that if it’s good for you, it must be expensive, and pass up the organic aisle at their local grocery. Unfortunately, they might be losing out on some more healthful food and heftier savings. Shopping for the season could significantly cut your spending on produce at the grocery store, and that includes saving money on organics. And if you shop around, looking at different prices at different stores, you might be able to get organics cheaper than chemically-treated fruits and vegetables any time they’re in season. “Seasonality is very much a factor in pricing but organic and conventional pricing in produce is mostly influenced by supply and demand,” according to retailer Whole Foods (Stock Quote: WFMI). “Pricing between organic and conventional tends to be closest during the harvest peak in the season,” spokeswoman Letton adds. And as oil prices increase, since petroleum is used to make chemical fertilizers, organics could actually become much cheaper. But until then, here’s some organic produce you can get cheap and when you can find it at its cheapest. Photo Credit: dimnikolov
    Apples
  • Apples

    Among organics, “we have seen pricing drop in hard fruit - apples mainly - over the years,” notes Whole Foods spokeswoman Libba Letton. “This is due mainly to significant increases in acreage under production,” Letton adds. The peak season for apples is the fall, so now would be the time when comparison shopping could mean finding organic apples that cost the same as their chemically-treated counterparts, Schueller says. If you’re lucky, you might even pay less for organic apples than for regular apples. At Safeway.com (Stock Quote: SWY), for example, shoppers in Bethesda, Md., can get organic Fuji apples for 92 cents each as opposed to non-organic fuji apples for 95 cents each. Photo Credit: ~Twon~
    Pears
  • Pears

    Pears are also in season in the fall, particularly Bartlett and Red Bartlett varieties, and organic pear prices are comparable to their conventional counterparts, Schueller says. And Anjou, Comice and several other pear types are actually in season in the winter. Currently, Safeway shoppers in Bethesda can get organic Bosc pears for $1.05 each vs. conventionally produced Seckel pears for $1.25, according to the supermarket's Web site. Photo Credit: maryatexitzero
    Oranges
  • Oranges

    Oranges are available year-round, and they’ve virtually become a seasonless commodity, Melissa’s spokesman Schueller says. “Retailers are lowering their margins to become more competitive, and the consumer wins,” Schueller says. “Producers are also projecting an increase in many organically grown citrus items,” meaning cheaper prices, Letton at Whole Foods says. “This product is still on the trees though so weather could still affect the available supply,” she adds. That means that if supply is lower than expected, it could still be more expensive. Photo Credit: maesejose
    Winter Squash
  • Winter Squash

    In the winter, “squash, sweet potatoes and potatoes in general” are in season, Schueller says. While the prices of the organic versions may not go below prices of their conventional counterparts, they may be at comparable prices, he says. Also good for winter soups, organic beans can be cheaper than conventional ones. Discovery bloggers found that a 15-ounce can of Bush's Best black beans cost $1.39 at a Safeway in Boulder, Colo., while at the Whole Foods down the street, a can of its store-brand organic black beans cost 99 cents. Photo Credit: randomduck
    Cheap Organic Cabbage
  • Cheap Organic Cabbage

    Cabbage is plentiful in grocery stores in March, when consumers can get organic cabbage “at a really great price,” Schueller notes. That’s because corned beef and cabbage are on the menu for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo Credit: net_efekt
    Salad in a Bag
  • Salad in a Bag

    Retailers have really embraced organic bagged salad mixes, and they usually sell at comparable prices to conventional salad bags, Schueller says. These salad mixes also come in clamshell packages, commonly from Earthbound Farms, and even under store brands. Organic salads have become so commonplace that most chefs and food service companies receive organic leafy greens by default, Schueller adds. And they’re available in supermarkets year-round. And on Safeway.com for example, six ounces of pre-packed Fresh Express baby spinach salad costs $3.49, or 58 cents an ounce. Meanwhile, if you go organic and buy in bulk, you can get a pound of O Organics baby spinach salad for $5.99, or 37 cents an ounce. Photo Credit: thebittenword.com
    Grapes
  • Grapes

    For grapes, “organic availability tends to be highest in the fall, lowest in the spring,” according to Whole Foods. That’s in line with grape season. “I know at Thanksgiving I can usually buy organic grapes for the same price as conventionally raised grapes,” says Organic Trade Association spokeswoman Barbara Haumann. Prices may also depend on availability, demand and occasions such as holidays, Haumann adds. At their peak season in the fall, more grapes are being sold and they’re more likely to be on sale, says Schueller of Melissa’s. Photo Credit: valcox
    Perfectly Cheap Peaches
  • Perfectly Cheap Peaches

    “During certain times of the season, organics can cost comparable to conventional produce,” says Robert Schueller, spokesman for Melissa’s, the largest organic produce supplier in the U.S. Peaches are in season in the summer, and a variety of peaches including Saturn peaches and white-fleshed peaches in addition to organics are on sale since they're so much more readily available. Photo Credit: totalAldo
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