Cheaper Organic Apples: A Dilemma

I don’t know why it took me so long to discover this money-saving tip: pre-bagged apples are cheaper than those in bulk. I live within walking distance of two Whole Foods, but it’s difficult for me to stomach paying $3.99 a pound for organic apples. Then I discovered that I can buy a three-pound bag of organic, somewhat local Fujis for just $3! That’s comparable to what I’d pay for conventional apples at Fred Meyer.

The only problem: the plastic bag. Ugh! This is yet another case of one step forward, two steps back on my path toward greenness. Sure, I can avoid pesticides and support local / organic farmers with the pre-bagged apples . . . but then I have a non-recyclable bag to toss.

What would you do? Go back to conventionally grown produce? Buy the expensive bulk apples? Or is there another option I’m overlooking (harvesting my own apples from organic orchards in the fall and snacking on them the rest of the year, perhaps?)?


  1. I try to get my apples from local farmers. I either go to the farm or get it at the farmers market. It is much cheaper that way. However, we are in upstate NY so not many fresh apples are growing right now. Eventually I would LOVE to have my own apple trees. Not a whole orchard but something that would be good enough for our family.

  2. I’d go with the organic apples in the bag for now. Maybe you could use the bag for something else? Carry your lunch in it until it falls apart.

  3. another Josh says

    Please note that it’s likely your Whole Foods has a receptacle for recycling plastic bags. At least my local store does. Most plastic bags can be recycled, but not in the normal recycling streams. They take different processing due to their tendency to gum up the works of the most common plastic recycling methods.

  4. Do you live near a Trader Joe’s? Our TJ’s has organic Fuji and Gala apples for 69 cents each… which for me works out to about 6 apples for $3.50 (I get small to medium sized ones). The sale price at our local co-op is usually $1.99 a pound for the same varieties, and I get 4 apples for about $3.60.

    If that’s not an option, I’d go with the pre-bagged apples until your local farmer’s market starts up.

  5. Good ideas here! Ali, here in the PNW, the apples we’re eating now were harvested last fall. So I suppose I could go to an orchard and buy fifty pounds of apples at one time and save them all year. However, without refrigeration I am not sure they would stay crisp all year long, so I wouldn’t want to chance it! The ones at the farmer’s markets are NOT cheaper here–more like $2-4 per pound.

    I like Josh’s idea of recycling the bags in the store. We have that option and for some reason I didn’t think of it! I also like the idea of reusing the bags, but there would be too many after a while!

    Larisa, I live VERY near a TJ’s and go there all the time. 69 cents each is more expensive than $1/lb.–it’s about $1.50/lb. I need to look at their apple selection more carefully next time and see if there are any good deals. If I could get BULK organic apples for $1/lb, that would be ideal!

  6. We do love our apple tree. We have one with three different types of apples growing on the same tree. It’s great! More apples than we can possibly eat every year. But, no apples right now.

  7. Stephanie M says

    I buy my apples cheaper in a bag as well. I reuse the bag when I buy other produce instead of taking a new produce bag!

Speak Your Mind