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Buying Produce: The Organic Shopping Guide

We’ve put quite a few organic shopping guides together so that our customers can better navigate their way through thebuying-produce-organic-shopping-guide best organic foods and products.  One thing a lot people are wondering about specifically is buying produce.  What produce should you buy organically?  What produce is it okay for you to buy conventionally?  And where are the best places for buying produce that’s organic?

In our recent post Saving Money on Organic Foods: 10 Great Tips, Krissy briefly mentioned a couple of lists you may already be familiar with: the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen.  The “dirty dozen” refers to produce you should always buy organically. The reason these foods should be bought organically is because they have skins that we eat, and the skin is what’s exposed to pesticides and chemicals during the growing process.  The clean fifteen refers to produce that is okay to buy conventionally because the skin is not eaten therefore you’re not directly ingesting foods sprayed with chemicals.  In case you haven’t heard of these two lists, here they are:

The Dirty Dozen

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Cherry tomatoes
  4. Cucumber
  5. Grapes
  6. Hot peppers
  7. Nectarines (imported)
  8. Peaches
  9. Potatoes
  10. Spinach
  11. Strawberries
  12. Sweet bell peppers

The Clean Fifteen

  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocado
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Corn
  6. Eggplant
  7. Grapefruit
  8. Kiwi
  9. Mangoes
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Onions
  12. Papayas
  13. Pineapples
  14. Sweet peas (frozen)
  15. Sweet potatoes

Buying Produce Locally

Buying produce locally is not only good for the environment and local economy, but if you buy from a local farmers’ market or farm you can ask the farmer yourself about how they grew the produce.  Local foods are also usually less expensive than foods that have been shipped from one part of the country to another.

Buying Produce Seasonally

Organic frozen produce is often cheaper than fresh produce especially if it’s out of season when you buy it, but was in season when it was frozen.  You can also buy organic produce in bulk when it’s in season, freeze it, and use it when it’s out of season.

Growing Organic Produce

Start your own organic garden and start growing your favorite fruits and vegetables.  Not only will you save money on buying produce at the store, but you’ll know exactly what’s in the produce you’re serving to your family because you grew it yourself.  Buying organic garden seeds ensures that you’re not planting any GMO’s.

Other Tips & Tricks for Buying Produce:

  • Separate bananas once you get them home so that they age slower.
  • Avoid washing leafy greens or fruits until right before they’re ready to be eaten, this way they’ll last longer.
  • Repurpose leftovers and food waste.   There are so many things you can do with organic vegetables besides adding them to a meal.  Also you can use your own food waste to help fertilize your own organic garden.

Do you have any tips or tricks to buying produce that is organic and inexpensive?  Share them in the comments!

Organic Halloween Candy & Healthy Activities for Kids

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but how some of us celebrate it has changed over the past few years, especially those of us who are trying to keep our kids eating healthy, organic foods.  Making sure your kids are organic-halloween-candyeating healthy doesn’t mean making them stay home on Halloween, but you also don’t have to let them binge eat GMO-packed products each Halloween either.  Whether it’s organic Halloween candy or ‘cash for candy’ programs, there are several different ways you can keep your kids eating healthy this Halloween.  Here are some Tricks and Treats for keeping your kids healthy this Halloween season.

Tricks: Healthy & Fun Halloween Activities for Kids

  1. Create a Haunted House.  The kids can do this with materials you have around the house, and this can keep them busy for hours.  The best part is the kids will have fun putting the haunted house together as well as taking turns going through it and scaring each other.
  2. Halloween Cookie and Cupcake Decorating Contest.  Make a batch of your favorite organic cookies or cupcakes and let the kids use organic frosting to decorate the treat as something scary.
  3. Halloween Pumpkin Massacre.  What do you do with pumpkins the day after Halloween?  Before throwing them in the compost let the kids make a bit of a mess destroying them.  It’s physical, it’s inexpensive, and it’s fun!

Treats: Organic Halloween Candy

  1. Yummy Earth organic Halloween candy has a wide variety of flavors of lollipops and hard candies.  They come in  a variety of flavors in 3 oz. bags or in larger assorted bags and so they’re perfect for opening and handing out handfuls on Halloween.
  2. Surf Sweets organic Halloween candy includes sour candy worms and gummy bears.  These are great candies for trading with your kids. “I’ll give you a handful of sour gummy worms for each of those butterfingers you got last night…”
  3. Ocho organic Halloween candy has several different types of organic chocolate bars.  And who doesn’t love organic chocolate?  From dark chocolate peppermint to mini milk chocolate caramel candy bars, these are the perfect treats for chocolate lovers.

What are some of your favorite healthy activities for kids during Halloween?  Do you have a favorite organic Halloween candy?  Let us know in the comments!

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Organic Gifts and Eco-Friendly Activities for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is coming up this weekend, and it’s a great excuse to not only celebrate dads but anyone who’s been a father figure in your life.  Instead of the usual Father’s Day gifts consider these organic gifts we’ve put together especially for Father’s Day!

Organic Gifts for Father’s Day

Organic Body Care for Men: Personal hygiene is important we all know that, but if you’re not using healthy, organic products your personal hygiene routine could be putting you at risk.  This gift basket comes full of healthy, organic grooming products for men, get the father figures in your life to start living organic in all aspects of their lives and not just when it comes to food!

Organic Hot Sauce Trio: I don’t know about your dad, but my dad loves hot sauce and hot foods, and when I think of him I think of hot sauce… So for the fathers or just regular heat lovers in your life, consider this set of organic hot sauces.

snackOrganic Gift Set: Snacking is often listed as one of the hardest parts of switching to an all-organic diet.  The problem is a lot of our traditionally favorite snack foods aren’t organic, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of organic snacks out there that are not only healthy but delicious!  These gift sets also come in different sizes (small and large boxes)!

Eco-Friendly Activities for Father’s Dayorganic gift

Waste Race: repurpose your recycling first!  You can use whatever recycling materials you have at the house to create a derby car.  There are specific instructions online for how you can make a car from recycled materials, however all you really need is 4 wheels (for example: 4 old/scratched CDs) and a body (for example: an empty soap detergent bottle) and then something to attach them (for example: the handle of an old paintbrush). This is a fun arts and crafts project as not only do you get to make something from scratch but when you’re done you get to race it!

Obstacle Course: setting up an obstacle course can be an outdoor or indoor activity! Use household items to set up different physical challenges for the obstacle course and time how long it takes each member of the family to make it through!

Personalized Pizzas Party: Who doesn’t love pizza? Answer: no one, even people with lactose intolerance sometimes can’t resist pizza!  Have the entire family create their own pizzas with their own toppings for a Father’s day dinner.  Kids love this as they feel like they are a part of the cooking process when all they’re really doing is putting toppings on the pizza.  Find organic pizza crust and other great organic ingredients to make your pizzas that much better!

Backyard Camping Trip: you don’t have to go anywhere to go camping!  Set up a campsite in your backyard with tents, tell ghost stories when it starts to get dark, and see how long dad stays outside before sneaking back in to sleep in his own bed!

We hope no matter what your plans or gifts are for Father’s day that you and the father figures in your life enjoy this day! What Father’s Day gifts are you planning to give this year?  Are there any organic gifts for Father’s day that we forgot to mention?