Organic produce from Gorzynski Ornery Farm
Life is a sum of all your choices. ~Albert Camus
Have you ever found bugs in your organic produce? We've had a couple recent conversations with people that wanted to stop buying organic because of the bugs. That's nuts! Bugs are gross, but we're here to put them in perspective and let you know there's a range of organic food - in price and in bug levels. In general, the less buggy and more prewashed the produce, the more you'll pay. If you live in NYC you get an extra bonus since we'll show you a few of our favorite options.
Personally, MindfulEats loves that bugs will eat our food. It's the food that bugs won't eat that we find scary. If it's not good enough for an insect, it's definitely not good enough for us. If bugs are staying away, it's probably because of the chemicals (like pesticides) on the food. If it'll kill the bugs, it's not something that we want to eat or give to our loved ones. (Maybe we'd give it to our enemies though). Besides, it's a lot easier to get rid of insects than to wash out all the chemicals.
Bugs are icky, but not nearly as gross as invisible chemicals. We've even found a bug (rarely) in food from Whole Foods. If you really hate bugs, you can find super high-end organic farmers/retailers that preclean food so well, you'll never find a bug. If you're willing to put in extra work (like remove the occasional insect), then you can find cheaper organic produce. [On a side note: if you hate bugs in your food, you will probably hate conventional milk too, because it usually has a lot of pus in it (cows that can't move and eat pasture are usually sickly, so they emit pus in their milk)].
We went to the Union Square Greenmarket yesterday where there is a whole range of organic farmers and prices.
Norwich Meadows is the Rolls Royce of stands. Everything is beautifully presented, impeccably cleaned, certified organic and delicious. We can't figure out how they find the time to clean everything between picking the food and getting to the market. Nevertheless, they do. They are a favorite provider for Gramercy Tavern. They are also on the higher end of the price scale. If you really hate bugs, pay up and shop here.
We don't have the funds to always go top of the line, so we are more than happy to do the washing ourselves for a price break. We just inspect food more carefully at the point of purchase to get rid of the occasional insect. Here are some more moderately priced organic favorites:
Oak Grove Plantation from Hunterdon County, NJ. We bought succulent white peaches, heirloom tomatoes and corn. Bees were buzzing all around the peaches - that's how sweet they are. We actually took the bees as a good sign. Oak Grove used to be certified organic, but they stopped the certification since it's expensive, but they keep growing the same way. Peaches were $3.75/lb (about the same price as Whole Foods except those peaches are from California and Mexico), and they were $5/lb or $7/lb at other stands in the market. Heirloom tomatoes were $3.95/lb, up to $8/lb at other stands. The corn is delicious and five for $2.75. It was so fresh we ate it raw. Check out the husks for tell tale holes, or bug dust. Out of the five we bought, one had to be discarded - but we'll let them know next week, and we bet we'll get one back.
Gorzynski Ornery Farm from Sullivan County, NY. We bought huge bunches of kale and red chard. A slug was on a bunch of kale, so we pointed it out to the man at the stand. He nicely removed it.
If you don't have the budget for organic, there are lots of great stands with conventionally grown food. The great thing is that you can ask the farmer yourself how the food is grown.
What to do - Buying at the Farmer's Market
- Decide on your criteria. What's important to you and what's your budget? Do you want organically grown food? Food that is grown with integrated pest management? The most expensive, prewashed items? The cheapest possible food?
- Walk around the market and take notes (mental or on paper). Don't buy anything yet. See what's in season and what you want to eat for the upcoming week. Note the prices. Ask the farmers how they grow their food.
- Go back and buy. Now you know the lay of the land - revisit the stands that you've targeted and pick up your groceries! If you are concerned about bugs, look over the greens for any intruders. Check the skin of fruits and vegetables for holes (stay away from those since they're usually made by a worm).
Want to learn more?
What I ate: strawberries, 3 white peaches, 16 oz. vegetable juice, latte, Raw Milk Cheddar NYCheese, Mindful Mix (macadamias, almonds, walnuts, goji berries, cranberries), whole wheat spaghetti + Rao's Siciliana + parmesan, 4 slice dried mangos, small original Pinkberry + blueberries + raspberries + mango + chocolate, Evolve pomegranate kefir, sauteed salmon, steamed red chard, brown rice, Stonyfield vanilla chai ice cream, 40 oz. water
Exercise: Jogged 5 miles