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Want to Eat Local and Organic? Some Tips.

Posted Dec 06 2009 2:32pm
Eating Locally:
If you're trying to eat more local food, check out the National Resource Defense Council's Eat Local tool. You just plug in your state and season and it will give you a list of all the food available in your state or the bordering states. (see bottom of this post)

But, there's a problem with this. Just because broccoli is grown in Rhode Island in early December doesn't mean the broccoli at my Shaws is from Rhode Island. Sometimes, the market will tell you where the food is grown. In my experience, they tell you when it's local and they don't say anything when it's not.

1. If you want to get active, talk to the store manager or write a letter to the regional manager asking them for more local produce.
2. Seek out farmers markets. Rhode Island has a wintertime farmers market . Maybe your cold-winter-weather state does too.
3. Join a CSA. What are they? Where can I find one near me? Click here.
4. If you're in MA, check out Boston Organics - they deliver organic seasonal veggies right to your door - they're really fresh and source locally whenever they can.

Here's a look at a typical delivery from Boston Organics (box not shown):

Eating Organically:
As for finding organic v. conventional produce, always look at the sticker tagging your fruit or vegetable. They're called PLU codes (price look-up codes). You'll find them on loose or bunched produce that's sold by weight. If it's not on the veggie itself, it'll be on the sign near it.

Here's how to decode them:
Conventional Produce: 4-digit number
Organic Produce: 5-digit number that starts with 9
Genetically Modified Produce: 5-digit number that starts with 8

For example:
4130: conventional granny smith apple
94011: an organic banana
84805: a genetically engineered tomato

(feel free to print this out and carry it with you as a supermarket guide!)

Want to know more about PLUs? You can read up to your heart's content here .

Here's a PLU I found on a picture of my spaghetti squash from a few weeks ago. It's #4776, which means it's a conventionally grown spaghetti squash:

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