The Dirt on the Organic Brands in your Refrigerator…

I have been dreading this post. First, because I so so so hate to tell people about the story behind what’s on their dinner table. Second, because I know better, but sometimes I turn away at the brand I’m buying because of convenience or cost, but it’s only fair that I own up to the brands that sometimes end up on my kids’ and my plates for the sake of letting you know what you’re eating, too.

That being said. Don’t go throwing out food in your kitchen because of what you read here, don’t get discouraged because it’s all you can afford, and lastly, don’t feel judged because you didn’t know differently or didn’t care to find out.

I have felt all three feelings, and they don’t get us anywhere. Knowledge is power, let’s fight to change what’s affordable together. Also, I’m posting what’s in MY fridge. Yes, even organic me has to cut corners for cost! I pick my battles, I weigh my options, and most importantly, I try to educate people so we can change our food options together.

If you’re interested in doing research, I encourage you to check out food documentaries on Netflix (i.e. Food, Inc.) as well as cornucopia.org a website dedicated to letting you know “How” Organic the “organic” food you’re buying is.There are so many resources available to you.

Once again, a little more organic in my eyes is better than completely commercial. 

Dairy:

Our Primary Whole Milk: Kirkland Organic Whole

Kirkland brand organic milk recently had a class action law suit against it for claiming to be organic and purchasing their milk from one of the largest commercial dairy farmers out there.

Read about it: Here

Since, the farmer has made it’s changes required by the USDA, but when you’re buying your milk from a store and not a farmer, how much can you really know? Cornucopia.org rates this brand, and most other store organic brands at “0” because they failed to complete the survey, this usually means they have something to hide.

When I have to make ends meet before the next grocery visit, I purchase Organic Valley.

This brand is based in Wisconsin and is one of the first nationwide commercialized brands of organic dairy. They score excellent on cornucopia.org and never use hormones or antibiotics on their cattle.

Read about it: Here

Why don’t I purchase this brand always? Because I live in Hawaii and milk costs $8 a gallon as it is, NOT organic. I get a little happy when Salem gets a little taste of the real stuff when it comes, but we just can’t afford this brand full time.

Organic Brand I never buy: Horizon.

Read about it: Here

Sliced Sandwich Cheese: Organic Creamery (DCI Cheese)

This company is Wisconsin based and never uses hormones or antibiotics on their cattle. Their herd longevity is low, but you win some, you lose some. They get an excellent on cornucopia.org

Read about it: Here

Dairy Products in my fridge that aren’t organic?

Greek Yogurt: Fage — artificial sweetener and coloring. Yuck..

Sour Cream(Meadow Gold) Cottage Cheese (viva) — these two brands are not claiming to be organic. What that means? The dairy used is from a factory farm where the cows are kept in stalls, not allowed to graze, fed corn, soy, and other feed, given hormones to continue their dairy production, and antibiotics to keep them from getting sick. Both hormones and antibiotics pass through the cows milk and continue to be in the product through pasturization.

Kirkland Shredded Mozzarella and Mixed Cheese – This brand also does not claim to be organic, corn and soy fed dairy, hormones, and antibiotics.

Philadelphia Cream Cheese: Actually Kraft, and it makes me nauseous to write about it…I should just go buy Organic Valley and bite the bullet.

Eggs: Kirkland Signature

Non-organic. Meaning these eggs are laid by caged chickens, pumped full of hormones and antibiotics.

Read about it: Here

Bread: I don’t purchase organic bread products. What that means? The wheat is grown in soil that has herbicides, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals to keep it growing, keep bugs off of it (including bees), and kill every sort of fungus and bacteria in between.

These farms are all over the Midwest, they cause severe allergies in so many midwesterners who simply have no idea how it comes about.

Read about it: Here

“Pre-harvest application of the herbicide Roundup or other herbicides containing the deadly active ingredient glyphosate to wheat and barley as a desiccant was suggested as early as 1980.  It has since become routine over the past 15 years and is used as a drying agent 7-10 days before harvest within the conventional farming community.”

What does that mean for me?

I plan to go back to making my own bread. Sandwich bread is actually not as difficult as it may seem and makes your home smell WONDERFUL. I’ve never made homemade tortillas, but I have heard from a few good friends that it’s worth it and they’re better. Someday, I’ll figure out bagels, but until then…farewell sweet breakfast friends.

Produce:

Organic Produce can add up. So, take a look at the Dirty Dozen

Start with the produce you purchase that is the most contaminated with pesticides. Buying local virtually eliminates any risk of pesticide use and GMO’s. To be sure, always ask your local farmer where he buys his seeds! If he’s an honest farmer, he’s going to answer your question! Heritage seeds and Seed Saver’s Exchange are great places to purchase non-GMO seeds if gardening interests you!. Non-GMO means you can harvest the seed from the fruit/vegetable and replant! GMO’s Do not allow for replanting!

If you’re interested in learning about GMO’s (and Monsanto!)

Read GMO:

Here

Here

Read Monsanto:

Here — When you look up similar links, people get pretty intense about this company. Sometimes, enthusiasts turn me off to a topic, however, I believe doing research about GMO’s will prepare you to make your own judgments about Monsanto.

Here

Meat:

Meat is a farm by farm basis. If you’re buying Tyson chicken, watch Food, Inc.

Here is a link to some organic meat companies, and some that claim to be organic.

We purchase Coastal Range Organics chicken and turkey. This is a foster farms brand, however, Foster Farms is not organic. Look for Coastal Range Organics Specifically.

My preference for meat, dairy, eggs, and produce? Local. Please, buy local. It’s a little less convenient than the Costco/Kroger/Walmart/Target, but nothing can replace a friendship with your local farmer.

You can purchase cuts of beef, or 1/4 or 1/2 a cow (woah, that’s a lot of meat) — most often times, this is the most cost efficient way to purchase meat!

Most of my readers live in states where purchasing and selling raw milk is illegal (if you can purchase raw meat and eat it raw, why can’t you purchase raw milk and choose to do the same?) Read about your state: Here

Most often, raw milk cannot cross state lines, so even if you have a nearby state that will let you have the goods, you *can’t* bring it home. Illinois, last I checked, does allow cow shares. You purchase a dairy cow, or share the living expense with another group of people, and you have rights to what the cow produces, meaning it’s milk!

Chickens can be purchased whole! Eggs by the dozen, and some super great farmers toss a few extra in if you purchase a bird!

Frequently, Farmers will have produce to sell right along with their meat and poultry.

Questions to ask your local farmer:

Is your beef grass-fed, hormone, and antibiotic free?

Is your dairy cow grass-fed, hormone, and antibiotic free?

Is your chicken range fed, hormone, and antibiotic free?

Are your seeds GMO or Heritage? Do you use pesticides, herbicides, round up or any other harmful chemicals or additives in your soil or on your plants?

Start somewhere. You don’t have to make the change all at once. Ask questions, read, and get involved. Save the bees, Stop Monsanto, Label GMO’s. Pick something about food. It’s what you live on. Be passionate about the heart of your home.

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