What does it mean when a food is organic?
This is from the back of a box of cereal made by Cascadian Farm:
The USDA organic standards prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, hormones and antibiotics in organic foods. Also, they prohibit all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Organic farmers rely on natural methods of soil building and crop rotation to keep their fields fertile and to reduce the negative impact on the environment.
Stonyfield Farm, which makes dairy products has a great page explaining the pros and cons of organic.
Organic foods do cost more and so you have to determine if it is worth it to you. But the good news is that they are becomming more readily available all the time. Both of our main grocery chains, King Soopers (Kroger) and Safeway, have their own organics line of products now. And I had heard that WalMart does, too. Tyson has recently begun selling ice glazed organic chicken. So with the increase in availabity of these products, the prices have already begun to improve. Organics don't cost as much as they did even a few years ago when I began contemplating all this.
I don't buy all or only organic. I buy it when it when I can.
I almost always buy natural, hormone and antibiotic free dairy, eggs and meat, whether they are organic or not.
The difference? The cows, chickens, etc have to have been fed organic feed in order for it to be certified organic.
Here is a list to show you which produce has the highest level of pesticides in it, then you can choose which ones you want to buy organic and which you don't. I had heard that strawberries were the worst and that apples were ok, because you could peel them. But we don't peel our apples, and I am surprised that they are so high on the list.