Adam Green is a freelance writer and organic food enthusiast. He contributed this post on behalf of Full Circle, an organic produce delivery service in Washington State.
With consumer demand for organic food on the rise, it's great that supermarkets are stocking more organic items.
But supermarkets still don't always carry local, organic varieties of your favorite foods. What's more, the markup at supermarkets often makes organic items prohibitively expensive. If you're looking for alternatives to the supermarket – alternatives that could provide more selection and greater value – here are three easy ways to put more organic food on your plate.
1. Visit the farmer's market – and bargain!
In many places, hitting up the farmer's market used to be the norm. Thanks to evolving habits and our busy, get-it-all-at-once mentality, many of us have forgotten that buying local foods from local farmers was once the way nearly everybody in this country survived.
Thankfully, many communities still have farmer's markets, and lots of small farming operations riding the organic trend mean that more markets are appearing in more places. Farmer's markets may even have more choices than the supermarket, and there are often deals to be found – especially if you catch sellers at the right time.
Try to visit the farmer's market at the end of the day when sellers are trying to liberate themselves from the last of their inventory. This can be a great time to negotiate on price, too.
And be sure to stock up at season's peak when there's plenty of supply and prices are lower.
2. Order in.
Delivery services offer another great way to purchase fresh, organic foods.
No, this isn't just for restaurants buying in bulk. Lots of people are now ordering organic produce online and getting it shipped to their front doors via local delivery services.
Search the Web to see whether such a service is available in your community. In many large and medium-sized cities, these services have been around for years and are heavily utilized. Home delivery is a great way to get local produce from organic farms. And since it's literally coming straight from the farm to your table, you know the food is fresh.
3. Start a garden you can maintain.
If you have access to sunlight, there's a good chance you can start a garden.
It doesn't have to be a big garden, mind you. Nobody's saying that you need a garden big enough to grow all your own food. But a small garden with a few items – even if it's just some tomato plants in a window box – is a fantastic way to ensure that you have a fresh supply of organic produce all through the season.
For city-dwellers and busy suburbanites, eating food you grow yourself may sound downright bizarre, not to mention time-consuming. If that's how you feel, start small. Planting an indoor herb garden with four or five items is an easy way to add flavor to your favorite meals without driving to the supermarket.
In finding new sources for delicious, organic food, a willingness to experiment is often the first step. The final one is enjoying the better variety, value, and freshness these alternative sources have to offer.