Thursday, June 5, 2008
Keep your conventional hands off my organics!
Although we at Whole Foods Market do all we can to protect the organic integrity of our products, once the decision is made to purchase an organic pear, loaf of bread, or pound of coffee, the product — and the protection of its organic integrity — passes into the hands of the customer. At this time, it becomes each individual customer's decision as to what steps they wish to take regarding their organic purchases. You may choose to:
• Bag and separate your organic produce selection from conventional produce prior to placing it on the produce scales, in the shopping basket or onto the register belt.
• Grind whole organic coffee beans at home since our grinders are used for both conventional and organic coffees.
• Please be patient when our team members need to clean their equipment before giving you a special cut of organic cheese or meat.”
I had never thought about this before, but it’s an excellent point. OK, the phrase “organic integrity” makes it sound a little too serious, but just as a vegetarian wouldn’t want their eggplant slapped on a grill right after a steak and flipped with the same tongs, I don’t want the organic produce I purchase rubbing up against produce swimming in nasty chemicals.
In addition to the above, I’d add:
- If you use re-usable produce bags, make sure to wash them between uses if they’ve held conventional produce – preferably with an eco-friendly washing soap.
- If you’re deciding between conventional and organic (maybe the conventional is the only local form of peaches available that week?) pay attention to where you’ve picked up any fruit you’re testing for firmness, and be sure to replace it in the appropriate bin.
- If you’re buying bulk, use the right scoop (this is important because of allergies too).
- When storing organic produce in the fridge, keep it in the bag or in an “organics only” drawer if you buy both organic and conventional stuff.
Are these measures over the top? Maybe for some, but not to me. Organic stuff costs a lot more, in general, at least where I live. If I’m paying for it, I want to keep it that way. Of course, then we get into the question of why not buy only organic, which gets into problems of whether organic trumps local. What’s funny is that I could actually get by on just the organic AND local CSA shares of produce almost all the time, I think, if they only had a bit more fruit. I love fruit…so until that day, I’ll be over here, trying to maintain the organic integrity of my veggies.