When shopping at your local grocery store, you will often see separate stalls and displays offering a variety of organic fruits, but with higher average prices, is organic fruit worth the extra cost? All fruit is capable of being offered in an organic form, but to be considered organic by the United States government, a product must follow the rules and regulations set forth by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). A program also exists to officially certify produce grown in the United States so an item can carry the official USDA logo.
Why Organic Fruit Costs More
An organic food product often costs more than its non-organic counterpart due to farming subsidies. Money spent on non-organic and large-scale agriculture by the United States Federal Government has traditionally been billions of dollars, while subsidies offered for organic and local foods has been far less, at around $15 million dollars each year.
Additionally, organic fruit crops are often harvested with a higher need for manual labor and a smaller yield of edible product due to restrictions on the use of non-organic chemicals employed during the growing season. Without the economic advantage of providing a large crop, organic fruit does not generally benefit from large scale production that serves to drive down prices in the marketplace.
Non-Organically Grown Fruit and Pesticides
Intended to prevent the spread of and destroy the existence of plant-killing pests, pesticides exist in a variety of chemical mixtures and are used by all major agricultural suppliers. Generally, when a synthetic pesticide is used during the growing process, a crop cannot be labeled “organic.”
Pesticides have been used by humans for thousands of years to protect crops though it wasn’t until the 1940s that synthetic pesticides became dominant. Organic farmers will often employ alternatives to pesticides, such as the use of Panchagavya, which is a mixture composed of cow dung, urine and milk and is intended as an alternative to chemical based insecticides, herbicides and pesticides.
Local Farmers Markets
While organic food has become a popular offering in many mainstream grocery stores, it is possible to obtain less expensive yet organically grown food at “Farmers Markets,” which are a gathering of local growers who sell everything from locally grown fruits and vegetables to flowers and other non-consumable items.
And as it is becoming a very main-stream practice to carry organic fruit, most major grocery store chains and businesses, such as the multi-billion dollar Wal-Mart Corporation, have lately been including organic produce on their shelves as a regular product offering, so with increased demand should come lower prices.
When deciding to purchase organically grown fruit, it is best to weigh the potential effects of long term exposure to pesticides against the higher cost of buying organically grown fruit. Purchasing locally grown organic fruit can not only serve as a healthier option, but can also help to support local economies and enhance the growth of small businesses in your area.