My first 100% organic shopping trip

I’ve been doing a bunch of chores this morning, as I can’t get into the state database I need to do the work I had planned today. I ran down to the local grocery store (Bayview Thriftway in Olympia, in case you’re wondering), and did a quick shopping run. Only after I got home did I realize that I had bought nearly 100% organic products – without even thinking about it, other than the usual attempts I make to generally buy organic. This has to be some kind of important milestone, that it’s even possible.

Here’s what I bought, all organic:

Apples and strawberries (west coast, carefully avoiding South American produce)
Colby jack cheese and parmesan
Three varieties of cereal
Two cartons of milk
Three kinds of yogurt
Kettle corn for snacking
Four frozen dinners (various organic brands)
Two frozen veggie packs (from Oregon, in little recycled paper bags!)
Four kinds of chocolate (small stuff) for Mother’s Day
Bread (local)
Toilet paper
a latte

There is one thing I bought that isn’t organic – Mother’s Day cards for my Mom and Grandma. If I had been thinking about it, it’s even possible those could have been at least recycled. But when it comes to Moms, it’s more important that the message be right :)

And then I had a fairly long conversation with the produce manager about whether it would be possible to separate out and make a little section for local organic produce apart from the stuff that comes from all over the world (using up lots of petroleum and generating carbon emissions in the process). He was actually receptive and said that in the summer and fall, they do that, and they actually take surplus from local farms. Not many big grocery stores are willing to go to those lengths.

I did tell him that, from the shopper’s point of view, winter is the hardest time to get local produce so it would be the most important time to highlight any they do have, for those of us purists who just won’t buy it if it had to come on an airplane (yes, I eat a lot of apples in the winter). He agreed that maybe increasing the size of their “grown in Washington” price labels would at least help us find what there is.

Anyway, good stuff :)

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2 thoughts on “My first 100% organic shopping trip

  1. flit says:

    Good stuff indeed! I actually feel a bit guilty even for apples shipped only from Washington, but honestly most varieties of apple grow better there (though we have superb Gravensteins and Macintoshes), and Brad likes apples best of all fruit. I guess we have an apple and strawberry/artichoke exchange program!

    It’s also hard to drop bananas, but I think those are shipped on boats, at least. I should look into that and decide if I *really* need bananas. But they were certainly a commodity before planes were around, unlike most of the other off-season fruit.

    It’s also very good of the store to be open to showing what comes from where. I love it when my stores show point of origin, and especially when it’s something from within a fifty mile radius, or when I can see the same produce and grower at the store that I saw at the farmer’s market. One of the stores around here labels fish for sustainability, too, and doesn’t sell any fish that is “red” or unsustainable (though they do sell yellow or borderline fish; honestly most fish from CA fisheries is borderline at best :(.) The other one labels point of origin but not sustainability, so I need to research the fish myself there.

    One of the nice things about living in Santa Cruz is that I can eat organic in a casual fashion, without thinking about it. But now the waxed, weirdly shiny but often tasteless produce at normal grocery stores weirds me out! I like the irregularities, blemishes, and natural skin from organic produce, and I’ve read that plants grown under a little stress and not in a monoclime and with all of the bugs that feed on them blasted with pesticides produce more nutritious produce. I can believe that; compare an organic piece of fruit to a non-organic one and usually the differences in taste are more than skin-deep.

    I’ve been thinking of going purely local for produce, but I’m not sure I can make that leap yet. But I think everything I’ve eaten today was organic, without really working at it, and a lot of the best of the food was local from the farmer’s market. I bet Olympia has a great farmer’s market, and if you want to make sure you eat more locally you may try buying a part-share in a CSA. Though a farmer’s market is more flexible than CSA, some people really like the regularity of CSA and having to take what they get and be really and truly in season.

  2. I did do a CSA in Puyallup, as there are lots of farms there. But I found even at half a share it was too much food for just one person! Still I ate lots of fruits and veggies and felt great that year, so that’s definitely an idea. Now that I live in Olympia I bet they would even deliver, though it was fun to go out to the farm and pick it out yourself. Thanks for the reminder!

    Olympia does have a great farmer’s market, which I had been planning to visit weekly. They’re still mostly in greens at the moment, but a few other things are starting to come in. And they have local bakeries, meat, and fish as well.

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