General Question

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

How available is good organic produce in your area supermarkets...in the USA, that is?

Asked by DarlingRhadamanthus (11213 points ) April 13th, 2012

I have to say this…one of the things I adore about living in the UK is that every major supermarket chain (Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Waitrose, Morrison’s) has lots of good fresh organically grown produce.Lots of it. And there are hundreds of “Farm Produce Shops” on country lanes and once-a-week Farmer’s Markets in a lot of town squares that provide even more good, organic products.

Basically, you don’t have to step once into a “Whole Foods” or its ilk to get fresh organic produce. And better than that, I just have to spend about 25 pence to 50 pence more for (say) a bag of organic apples than non-organic equivalents. It’s phenomenal. People here (regular folk) do care a lot about good food and non-GMO food, too.

A friend in the States was lamenting that in most smaller towns (away from large metro areas) it is difficult to source organic produce and health foods. And that getting good organic produce is costly. Is this true?

USA Jellies: If you can buy it in your town’s supermarket (or you know of supermarkets/market towns that have organic produce/foods) which stores do you shop at? Where do you find your organic food/produce in America?

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32 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

I can get great, organic produce year-round at any of my local grocery stores (Albertson’s, Trader Joe’s, and yes, Whole Foods). I get most of it at the farmer’s market or from my garden, though. I am much more concerned with local than organic.

gailcalled's avatar

I live in a rural area with many different population groups; the locals, the people, like me, who resettled here, the week-enders and owners of second homes, and the tourists.

Our supermarket has a section, that is getting larger and larger, for organic foods and we also have a wonderful food coop (for locavores) that has gone from being open three days a week to seven days in the nice weather.

My sister sells her Jerusalem artichokes there after the last frost until now for $7.00/lb.

Coloma's avatar

Very available. I live in a farm trails zone and we are abundant in locally grown organic fruits and produce. I was not able to find a link for a favorite community garden near me which grows organic fruits and veggies and operates on the honor system after hours in the summer season. You read prices on a chalkboard and leave your cash in a drop box at the entrance of the garden. It’s called ” Cool gardens” and is in the tiny community of “Cool” California.

I love dropping by on summer nights and either picking my own or choosing from boxes of fresh goodies in the garden tent. :-)

gailcalled's avatar

@Coloma: We too have a local farm stand with a cash box. There are, even in winter, a dozen or so freshly laid eggs from happy chickens who run around, meet and greet us, and eat good stuff. We also return the egg cartons for re-use.

JLeslie's avatar

Varies greatly from city to city. Where I live outside of Memphis there is not a huge selection. There are some stores that have good produce, but only in a specific part of town 30 minutes from me. There are some farmers markets in the summer time, but again I need to drive a little bit to go to one.

geeky_mama's avatar

I live in a relatively small town (Pop. 30,000) that is a far outer-ring suburb far north of the Twin Cities. I live rural – so we can (during our short growing season) grow a fair bit of our own produce in the summer..and I can stop by several neighboring farms for local produce, too. (We always buy our pumpkins by biking to our neighbor’s house..)
We also have a few area Farmer’s Markets (in our small area, there are several more in the Cities, plus a large number of CSA – Community Supported Agriculture groups) where we can buy fresh local organic produce. And, even the smallest of the groceries near us have an extensive Organic produce section. So..no trouble finding organic veggies even in the relative countryside.

Our German exchange student’s family came to stay with us last Easter and she remarked that we have a great selection of ample organic produce but she was shocked at how expensive it is compared to Germany. Apparently in Germany (and other European nations) produce is subsidized (?)—where as here we can more easily find cheap junk food (processed food) but pay a great deal for fresh organic produce.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

We can find organic produce at our local grocery stores year ‘round where I live in IL. We have no lack of this because we’re not right by Chicago or other bigger cities.

During the summer, we have many farmers markets where we can also find organic produce. We live in farm country… some of the veggies you’re going to find!

It is more expensive .. but not that much more.

SmashTheState's avatar

The term “organic” means very little. The man who founded the organic movement in the UK, for example, has resigned and distanced himself from the official body which hands out the “organic” imprimitur (which occured when the body gave out the organic seal of approval for factory-farmed fish; giving the label organic to something which by its very existence is harmful and unsustainable makes the word meaningless).

I would purchase locally-grown produce over any kind of organic produce as being far more likely to be sustainable. Thus it’s far more important to have access to local produce at the supermarket than organic produce, which may well be shipped across the planet to get to you. And sadly, local produce is often much harder to find than organic at most supermarkets, including where I live. Even at farmers’ markets it’s difficult to find local produce, since they get squeezed out by resellers who can purchase cheap goods from continents away and sell it for less than local farmers can bring their own crops to market.

wundayatta's avatar

I live in an urban area. Organic produce is available every Saturday at my local Farmer’s Market, and also on Thursday, Wednesday and Sunday, if I choose to go to other Farmers markets. Also, Whole Foods and Trader Joes are available. I don’t know what the major chain supermarkets are doing, though. It’s hard to imagine they would stay away from organic produce, since Whole Foods is making so much on it, and it would be trivially easy to cut below their prices.

Coloma's avatar

The greatest discovery of the decade for me was to find my local garden grows Satsuma Plums. A variety I had not been able to find since the 60’s when my grandmother had a Satsuma plum tree in her yard. Oh, to die for they are!

zenvelo's avatar

I live in a suburb of San Francisco. Locally grown organic produce is very easy to get here; there are some items I will only buy organic, such as strawberries and lettuces. I can get it a Whole Foods, the local farmer’s market, or a good independent market we have in my town. The quality is excellent.

You can also go to the Safeway, but my thinking is that Safeway deliberately chooses poor quality organic produce to steer people to the non-organic which is more profitable. All the Safeway organic produce looks like it is rotting.

laureth's avatar

I live in a suburban hippie enclave in the Midwest. We have a Whole Foods (which sells some organic) and a Trader Joe’s (which doesn’t sell much organic, even though they have a reputation for doing so). I don’t care to shop at those places unless I have to, because I’ve seen too much there. We also have a local food co-op with a fairly good selection and a farmer’s market where I preferentially shop. The farmer’s market has lots of small farmers who might not be able to afford expensive certification, but follow sustainable practices. I like to support those folks.

philosopher's avatar

Our local Trader Joe’s has a lot of organic food. Stop and Shop and Shoprite also have organic sections.
I prefer Trader Joe’s to Whole Foods. The prices are better. I eat wild fish,organic or minimally processed chicken. I read all labels and avoid process food. I do not eat any red meat.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I have access to 3 health food stores all with excellent produce sections. I’m very lucky.

Judi's avatar

I subscribe to Abundant Harvest and for $21.00 a week I get a box full of fresh, in season, locally grown produce. I just have to pick it up on Saturday, or if I’m out of town, remember to ask someone else to pick it up for me.

ffsc's avatar

Depends on where in the country you are. Here is South Florida I have access to quite a bit of organic foods in my local supermarkets…in fact, we even have a few that are solely dedicated to this.

rooeytoo's avatar

omg, I agree with @SmashTheState – the label organic is really difficult to define. It has such wide parameters it really doesn’t mean much. It is like “free range” what that means varies greatly and is very loosely policed. You may be paying premium prices for something that is so similar to mass produced it isn’t worth the extra cost. The best is to find roadside stands where the products are grown right there. It is a full time job though. As was said above even at local markets much of the produce is shipped in or dug out of the dumpster (skip) behind Safeway judging from the way it looks.

philosopher's avatar

@rooeytoo
I read labels because what I do not want is chemicals.

marinelife's avatar

It has really spread of late, and you can find it everywhere.

creative1's avatar

Where I live in northern MA its all farm country, we have a farm for just about everything. I go the the dairy for my milk and eggs, I go to Blood Farm in Groton MA for my meats and to a couple of different farm stands for honey and veggies & fruit when they are in season. On top of everything else my little town has a farmers market every week. I made a root cellar with alot of root veggies and apples this past fall and it was wonderful that I didn’t have to go much to the grocery store. This year I am going to be freezing different fruits and veggies now that I have a large freezer in my basement. You pay a little more but its so well worth it knowing your family isn’t being exposed to the hormones and antibiotics that are in so many foods these days.

jerv's avatar

Living in Seattle, finding decent organic produce is easy.

Back in NH, supermarkets generally didn’t have much in the way of organic stuff, but there were enough farmers markets and health food stores/coops that it didn’t matter.

Buttonstc's avatar

There is a wonderful website for any of us desiring locally raised food of all sorts. They also list restaurants, farmers markets, and small family farms as well as Health Food stores and CSAs. All you need to do is put in your zip code, parameter radius you would specify and then filter for what items you’re looking for. Shortly after moving here, I was thrilled to find a little family operation selling eggs from their chickens running around in the yard which was less than a mile away from me. Had it not been for this website, I never would have known they existed.

Those of you in remote areas may find there is more relatively unpublicized resources than you’d ever imagine.

www.localharvest.org

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

What a great response from everyone….I am so chuffed that there is more activity than I was led to believe. Hopefully, it will grow. And @SmashTheState…I also meant “locally grown”...not just organic (whenever possible.) That’s a given here. For example, even carrots at some supermarkets are marked “Grown by Tom Brown in Herefordshire” or wherever. You do know where they are coming from (usually). And of course, as I said, the local farm market shops are well-stocked too.

@Buttonstc….Thank you for mentioning Local Harvest! (Totally forgotten to mention them.) I really love their website and it is a great way for people to network and find local produce.

Thank you for your great information….and for saying “No” to pesticides, chemicals…and supporting local farmers, too.

Lurve coming….and thanks again!

And please, continue saying “No” to Monsanto

philosopher's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus
We should all be concerned about Monsanto. They wish to take over the worlds food supply and force us all to consume Genetically Alerted food products. No one knows what affects these products will have on humans long term.

rooeytoo's avatar

@philosopher – yeah, I’m not wild about that idea either. Scary stuff.

SmashTheState's avatar

It was Monsanto – makers of Nutrasweet – which pressured the FDA in Amerika to ban stevia, an herb which is 400–600 times sweeter than sugar, with no calories and no side effects. The FDA violated its own rules in banning stevia and when they were forced, years later, to grudgingly remove their blanket ban, they still forbade any use of the word “sweet” to describe it. Legally, it can only be sold as an “herbal supplement” with no mention of its sweetness.

In addition, not a lot of people are aware that more than 70% of the corn and maize grown in Mexiko now show markers for genetic engineering. No corporation is admitting to this, which means they have quietly and illegally introduced engineered genes – which do what, no one knows – with no oversight or testing, and no way to remove, cordon, or quarantine it. In case people are unaware, this is significant because the entire world uses Mexiko as a genetic storehouse for corn and maize species. There are thousands of species, and only a handful which are sold in supermarkets. In order to remain viable, seeds must be planted every year, then new seeds harvested for the next. By secretly introducing doctored genes into Mexikan corn and maize, it permanently removes the possibility of accessing the original species if they are needed at a later time.

There is no guarantee that it was Monsanto which is responsible, of course, but the fact that the corporate media has totally ignored this story and that whoever was responsible was both immensely well funded and possessed of comic book levels of moustache-twirling evil, Monstanto is the most likely culprit.

philosopher's avatar

@SmashTheState
I do not trust the FDA. Canada recently ban BPA and the FDA still allows it. They have done a lousy job keeping our food safe. They also allow parbens in make up and medicine. Parben is a know Carcinogen.
Reading labels is a difficult time consuming job. My husband and I do the best we can. Monsanto has Lobbyist and they paid off Congress and got legislation past in their favor.

rooeytoo's avatar

Just a little note on the FDA. I knew a vet who lost his ticket to practice because he was caught doctoring (pun intended!) the papers on race horses. Guess where his next place of employment was, yep you guessed it, the FDA as some sort of inspector of something. Makes you wonder doesn’t it?!

rooeytoo's avatar

Oh yeah, I was trying to think of a book I read years ago, fiction but an interesting novel about this sort of genetically modified seeds taking over. It is “All Over Creation” by Ruth Ozeki, she also had another book about hormone fed livestock, I think that was called, “My Year of Meat.”
As I said, fiction but good informative reads, both of them.

philosopher's avatar

@rooeytoo
I am very concerned.

rooeytoo's avatar

@philosopher – yep me too, so I buy heritage seeds and try to grow as much as I can in the back yard. Just moved recently and we are in the process of preparing garden beds now.

philosopher's avatar

@rooeytoo
Good for you. I wish I had the time to do this.
I do receive vegetables from one family remember. He always grows too much. I have grow a few things but I wish I could do more. NY has a short growing period.

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