Let’s Talk About Organic & Local Produce

jamaica produce
Taken Summer 2006 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Because I am becoming more conscious about the foods we consume, I’ve been doing research (as I can) and making plans to consistently buy produce of better quality. I used to think that the best produce came in organic form; produce grown without use of artificial chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, etc. In this post I complained a little about my local Walmart’s lack of organic apples and other produce. After attending an online meeting and a follow-up call regarding Walmart’s sustainability commitments, I found out why.

The issue is scale. If every Walmart or large grocer sold only organic produce, there’d be a shortage of produce. Organic farming is on the up-and-up, but an insanely large amount of farms would have to become certified to be able to keep up with the demand of organic produce in every grocery store. Being certified is a long and expensive process and many farmers don’t have adequate resources to do so. So Walmart isn’t tardy to the organic party, it’s just a complicated process sourcing for the demand. Walmart has, however, committed to increasing their organic produce stock 9% and they are making strides towards selling more local produce.

Local produce can be just as good as organic produce. Just because a farmer hasn’t gone through Organic Certification, doesn’t mean they don’t treat their produce with high standards. Local Harvest and the Eat Well Guide are great resources for finding sustainable farmers in your area. You can develop a relationship with them and learn about their farming practices. Many of these farmers don’t treat their produce with harmful chemicals and because they aren’t certified, their produce prices are lower. It’s a win-win.

Additionally, there are specific produce items that aren’t treated heavily with pesticides regardless of whose farm they were grown on. This produce is just as healthy as organic produce and are referred to as the Clean Fifteen. Then, there’s The Dirty Dozen: produce considered more nutritious if purchased organic. The Dirty Dozen consists of celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach (kale and collard greens), cherries, potatoes, imported grapes, and lettuce. The Clean Fifteen consisits of onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mango, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi fruit, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, and sweet onions.

My focus right now is on replacing the the Dirty Dozen items with organics or local produce. I am at ease knowing that I don’t have to purchase every single produce item in organic form, just the twelve if I want to take advantage of full nutritional benefits. And, I can purchase produce locally in my community when buying organic isn’t an option. I finally feel like I have this whole organic thing figured out. I applaud Walmart for planning to sell more organics and local produce. It makes it a little easier for people like me who like to get everything in one store. Now, I can focus on nixing gluten and pasteurized milk from Jayden’s diet to clear up his Eczema. Wish me luck on that!


I am a participant in the Walmart Moms program. Walmart has compensated me to blog about Walmart’s Sustainability Commitments. Participation in this program is voluntary. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Sheena Tatum

is the founder of Sophistishe. She's a free spirit, wife, boy mom, rental rebel, curator of pretty things, lover of vintage pyrex, and the tropics. Sheena can be found in NW Indiana with her husband and two scrumptious boys, clutching kraft paper, chalkboard paint, sriracha and chipotle pepper. In the midst of motherhood, wifedom, and managing a growing collection of digital projects, she somehow manages to find zen in being a quirky, introverted, lil’ lady.

2 Comments

  • Reply November 15, 2010

    Sheliza

    Girl, I always learn so much when I visit! I have been purchasing a great bit of organic produce lately. I am also very lucky that my father-in-law is a part of a co-op that takes produce from all local growers and packs up a box full for only $10 a month. Of course you sometimes get not so great stuff sometimes but overall it is a great deal and it is FREE for me! Another awesome thing is my neighbors are always sharing their homegrown tomatoes, eggplant, squash and bell peppers. Not bad huh?

  • Reply November 15, 2010

    Laila @OnlyLaila

    Thanks for sharing the resources for where I can find organic produce locally!

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