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.

Saving Money on Organic Groceries

I spend $175 a month on groceries for my small family of three.  I wrote about spending less on groceries in this post about eating meat-free.  Several people (okay, two people) asked me how I manage to pull this off.  According the USDA’s “thrifty” meal plan, a family with a man, woman, and three-year-old would spend $414.20 per month.  (We’d spend $800 on the “liberal” plan!)  So it seems that we are spending less than half of what other “thrifty” eaters are spending–and we eat mostly organic food!

This is a bit puzzling to me, as we don’t do anything too extraordinary to save money on food.  I haven’t planted a garden since two summers ago (and it was a failure), I don’t clip coupons, and I don’t shop at Costco or other huge warehouse stores.  I also buy many expensive ingredients, like olive oil, nuts, and fancy cheese.  If I had to, I could save even more money if I got better at gardening, stopped buying organic foods, and cut out a few costlier items on my grocery list.