Last week, a report was released that said while the sale of organics foods increased last year, they were not increasing at the same rate that they had been in previous years. This is, of course, due to the recession. MNN reported on this last week and asked, “How green is my wallet?”

That’s a good question, and I suppose the answer has to do with how much green you’ve got in your wallet. The other day a friend told me that she had stopped buying almost all organics because the money is just not there. She’s been laid off from her job, as have several of my friends, and her grocery budget has been slashed. She said she had stopped buying most pre-processed foods and was cooking from whole ingredients, but unfortunately she couldn’t buy those ingredients in their organic form anymore.

There was one exception, however. She said the organic baby cut carrots were only slightly more expensive than their conventional counterparts, so she has continued to buy them.

That got me thinking. What are the best organic deals? I think it's important that we try to hunt them down and buy them. Although it seems like maybe we can't afford to buy organics right now, I know that we can't afford to have them disappear from our shelves.

I went grocery shopping today armed with a notepad, calculator and my camera, and I found some of the better organic deals. I shop at Wegmans, and all of the prices are based on what I found in that store today.

Baby carrots – One pound of organic baby carrots was $1.59. The non-organic baby carrots were $1.29. I paid $.30 more for the organics.

Bananas Organic bananas were $.69/pound. The non-organic bananas were $.49/pound. I bought 2.32 pounds of organic bananas for $1.59 compared to the $1.14 I would have paid for non-organic. I paid $.45 more for the organics.

Apples – Organic Gala apples in a 3-pound bag were $3.99. The non-organic 3-pound bag of Galas were $2.97. I paid $1.02 cents more (or $.34 more a pound) for the organics.

Slow Cooking Rolled Oats – In the bulk bin, organic rolled oats were $1.79/pd. The Quaker slow cooking rolled oats in the cardboard tub were $2.12/pd. The organic rolled oats were actually less! I saved $.33.

Coffee – I buy organic, fair-trade dark Mexican ground coffee breans from Lacas for $7.99 for 12 oz. of Starbucks non-organic ground coffee beans cost $7.19. I pay $.80 more for a weeks worth of fair-trade, organic coffee. The Lacas coffee is really good. I’ve tried many, many fair trade organic brands, and this is my favorite.

These are five items that I buy every week when I go to the store. And by paying just $2.24 more (yes, I subtracted the $.33 I saved on the oats), I was able to buy them all in their organic form.

The sale of organic foods has been growing at a healthy pace for several years now, and while that has slowed, people are still buying. But if we stop buying, organic farmers will stop growing. When this recession is over — and it will end at some point — it would be a shame for organic food to be unavailable because people stopped buying it.

If you can find just a couple of extra dollars in your food budget each week (or even just an extra $.30 like my friend did), you can help to ensure that those who grow organic food and those who create organic products will continue to do so throughout the recession.

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