Is Organic an Elitist Market?

Often the question arises about the cost of organic foods and if they are only available to the “élite.” I don’t believe this is true. This week I am going to a do a series of focused blogs on the cost of organic food. I will be open and honest about the types of food I buy and prepare for my family. I will also break down the costs of each of those meals. To give you a little background, our family’s net income for 2009 was $32,000. This ranks us in the lower class. Och.

I find this kind of funny, because I don’t feel like we are “lower” class. We have a nice home, nice clothes, food on the table and never feel “deprived.” Yes, there are somethings that we would all love to have. Tim keeps saying he NEEDS an iPhone. No one NEEDS an iPhone. I would love a new car, but the one I have is reliable and has no loan payments. I guess a major philosophy in our family is to spend more on the things we NEED (like food) and spend less or go without the rest.

Today was probably not the best day to start this series, because I had two meals away from home that I didn’t have to pay for. I had a board meeting today which provided lunch and then had dinner over at my parents’.

Our family is members of Valley Natural Foods. Most of the foods I purchase are from that store. I do stock up on unbleached bread, organic whole wheat bread and all-purpose flour at Sam’s Club. The bleached and all-purpose flour actually comes from a mill in North Dakota. For the foods that we received from the farm for little/no cost (milk, meat and some processed veggies) I am going to try to find an average price online or use the price we sell it to you for.

For breakfast this morning our family had oatmeal (local $1.99/lb), peaches (organic $3.79/lb), and milk (organic and very local $4.50/gallon). I also had a cup of green tea (organic, $3.37/box).  The total cost of the meal was:

  • Oatmeal: $0.25
  • Peaches: $3.50
  • Milk: $1.25
  • Tea: $0.21
    • Total: $2.33 or $0.58/person

I was shocked how reasonably priced this meal was. The best part is that it is really healthy and filling. If I would have substituted the high-priced Argentina organic peaches for a more local and seasonable fruit (say raisins or cold storage apples), the savings would have been even greater (but they smelled so good at the store).

I leave you with a very simple recipe for oatmeal.

  • 1.75 cups Organic Valley Milk
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • pinch of salt
  • toppings of choice (maple syrup, raisins, brown sugar, fruit, etc)
  1. Bring milk to boil in pot. Add oats and salt. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Cover pot and let rest for 2-3 minutes. Add toppings and serve. Serve: 2-3 servings. Almost as fast as the packets and half the price!

Side note: This week is National Agriculture Week with National Ag Day on Saturday. Please reflect on all the great stuff that farmers provide for us.

Emily

Zweber Farms is a 4th generation family operated organic dairy. We also specialize in sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken and sell it directly to customers in Minnesota.Visit our website to learn more, http://www.zweberfarms.com

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