Strawberries, peaches, and grapes make me sad

It’s more or less summer already here in Texas, and with the weather comes the fruit season. I just love peaches and strawberries! Of course, when these fruits are in season, they go on sale all the time. I have seen strawberries for as cheap as 2 cartons for $3! My kids absolutely love strawberries.

strawberries are number 3 in the EWG Dirty Dozen most toxic fruits

What depresses me the most about prices like that is: they don’t matter. Those are conventional strawberries. As in, non-organic. I have mentioned before that I refer to the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list and pretty strictly avoid buying non-organic in the 12 fruits and vegetables with the most toxins, especially when it comes to my kids. I am flexible when we eat out, but I do not bring non-organic versions of those top 12 into our house.

Strawberries? #3
Peaches? #4
As in, #1 is the most toxic.
So I’m stuck still paying $5-$6 per carton for organic strawberries, and $3-$4 per lb for organic peaches – exactly the same price I’d pay during the winter months. It seems organic doesn’t go on sale much more than 50 cents at any time. At those prices, you can imagine how far our grocery budget goes. I can only afford to buy 2-3 containers of strawberries a month and only 2 small bags of 3-4 peaches if I can catch them on sale ($3/lb is a sale).

I usually let my kids eat all of those fruits and my husband and I do not eat any. I want them to get the most health benefits that they can while they’re still growing by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and if I can only afford that many, they will all go to my kids first.

Another annoyingly difficult food is grapes – #7 on the list. Have you seen how many bentos contain grapes? And they’re such a great fruit to pack as a snack, or freeze and eat when we’re at the splash park during the summer. But lately, I haven’t been able to find organic grapes AT ALL. Not at Whole Foods, not at Natural Grocer, not Central Market, not even Greenling has them (Sprouts has never carried organic grapes at all)*. I have pretty much give up on them altogether. If you ever do see organic grapes at a store here in the Dallas area, please make sure you post it on my Facebook wall!
This is the time of year when I get really bitter about the state of our agricultural system. Why do we need to dump so much crap into our food?! When I was Googling the results of the EWG tests, I found that those test are done on fruit and vegetables that have already been washed. That means that strawberries and peaches have the most toxins even after being washed. Not cool, USDA, not cool.
There really isn’t much of a point to this post except that I wanted to vent. I realize that there is nothing anyone can do about this situation. Dumping craptons of chemicals on the produce is a super cheap way to make a higher profit for the agric-business that own the farms that produce the crops. I get tired of going into the store and seeing how we could buy 2 tons of strawberries at Costco for the same price as a tiny container of organic, if only we were OK with cramming a bunch of toxins into our family. 
No, thanks.

*NOTE: My out of town readers might suggest a farmer’s market – unfortunately, the Dallas Farmer’s Market does not sell organic produce. At all. There is one farmer who tends to use a lower amount of chemicals although he is not certified organic. He does sell peaches, but only a few times a month. I haven’t been able to make it down to the market during the times he’s been selling lately (it’s a 25 minute drive one way). The rest of the produce at the Dallas Farmer’s Market is from Mexico, and it is conventionally grown. It’s actually the exact same thing you’d buy in the stores. It’s even labeled Del Monte and Chiquita brands. Richardson does not have a Farmer’s Market at all (too small of a suburb). I have heard the McKinney Farmer’s Market is awesome but I have never been there – it is a 45 minute drive for us.

9 thoughts on “Strawberries, peaches, and grapes make me sad”

  1. I have given up on buying the pricy organic produce. I am not a fan of giving my family pesticides but we cannot afford the organic option 90% of the time. It’s hard to justify it when you can buy four cartons of regular strawberries for the price of ONE carton of organic. Doesn’t make it very accessible, does it? Often I feel like buying organic is such a privilege thing that it kind of turns me off. (however, i refuse to buy anything but organic, free-range meat and eggs) I usually buy my produce from Sprouts because I’m hoping that their more natural philosophy means that they are buying produce that has endured fewer pesticides than produce from a store like Kroger or Walmart. I could be delusional but at least I’m supporting a store whose philosophy I support. I have decided to live as clean and natural as I can within my means. I refuse to go broke over it.

    Also, that is total bullshit about the Dallas farmer’s market. What kind of crap is that? I hope that people don’t go down there assuming it’s all locally grown. That kind of pisses me off.

  2. Having recently returned to the Dallas area, I’ve noticed this as well.  I’ve heard the Plano Farmer’s Market is great, but have yet to locate it.  I’ll keep you posted on my results.  Another option I’ve considered is sharing a organic box (I forget the more common term) but need someone to share it with because I can’t finish one myself per week.  Maybe a neighbor or a nearby friend would be willing to share?

  3. I really get close to giving up when it comes to strawberries because my kids love them and they are so stinking cheap at Costco!!

    I kind of hate the Dallas Farmer’s Market sometimes because it is really a mockery.

  4. #1 – WHAT? I did not realize you were back!! Want to get together?

    #2 – Yes, Plano would be close for us! Let me know if you do find it, I need to look also. There are some great co-op options – one is YourHealthSource, but the bins are indeed huge. We did that for about a year. The newest ones are Greenling and Bountiful Baskets. I like Greenling because they deliver but their prices aren’t better than the stores, and sometimes worse. I paid $5.99 for a container of organic strawberries through Greenling last week and that same day saw organic strawberries at Natural Grocer for $3 a container. STAB STAB STAB. I still want to try Bountiful Baskets sometime, I have heard good things about them from Valerie.

  5. I have not been able to find organic grapes anywhere either! I wonder if something happened with the crops this season?

  6. I have this all natural fruit & veggi wash that I spray on, let it sit and then rinse.  It relieves my guilt about the pesticides cause I do buy fruit by the boatload at Costco.  I have found organic grapes at Costco but only twice when I got lucky.  (One time I got 4 lbs for $8 but it was the last carton there)  I have not looked at the research, but could you not scrub down a cheap peach and it would be safe?  That was very enlightening about the Dallas Farmer’s Market.  I was only there one time and I asked a few if the produce they sold was pesticide free. . . each time I didn’t get the answer I wanted.   Yeah our FDA is MAJORLY failing us by making the general public think food sold in a grocery store are totally safe when really we should all demand better!

  7. I am so glad I’m not crazy or something! How strange that they’re gone, I do remember getting them fairly easily in previous years.

  8. Ugh, I agree.  With grapes, supposedly the ones on the dirty dozen list are imported ones.  Grapes from the US aren’t supposed to be as bad.  But who really knows.  

    I was going to suggest the McKinney Farmers Market too.  It’s small but there’s good stuff.  The farmers that I’ve talked to aren’t certified organic but do use organic farming practices.  And I ask which items specifically came from their farm because they too sometimes bring in produce from elsewhere.  I wonder if you got together with a friend and maybe took turns going and picked up stuff for each other to offset the time/gas cost?

    I’ll be interested to see if Greenling’s prices on seasonal fruits go down this summer.  It all still seems expensive to me but I love that I’m basically paying the same and I don’t have to drag the kids to go get it.

  9. I will have to take a trip to the McKinney Farmer’s Market – thank you! I have a friend we might be able to trade with, great idea!

    Yes so far some of Greenling’s don’t seem to vary according to season, booooo because I really love the delivery option!

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