The Importance of Buying Local
In addition to buying organic produce, you'll also get more nutritional bang from your buck if you buy produce that was grown locally or regionally. Experts agree that fruits, vegetables, and greens provide peak nutrition when they are ripe.
Unfortunately, more than 60 percent of the commercial produce in the United States is picked before it's ripe, which means the produce you buy doesn't have its full nutritional component.
Early harvesting practices are common in the three states responsible for growing and producing the bulk of the country's produce — California, Texas, and Florida. Once harvested, much of the produce is packed and shipped elsewhere. That means it is days or weeks old — and yet still not naturally ripe — before it hits your supermarket shelves.
In addition to early harvesting practices, modern agriculture has introduced fungicides, coolants, and chemicals to enhance the appearance of produce and slow the rate of perishing. Local and regionally grown produce doesn't have to be picked before it ripens because it isn't traveling far to get to the supermarket. This gives it a chance to ripen on the vine, ensuring you get maximum nutrition from your produce.
If your supermarket doesn't carry local organic produce, try your local health food store or a local farmer's market. You can also request that your supermarket begin stocking local organic produce. You probably aren't the only patron who wants it.
Grow Your Own
If all else fails, you can always grow your own organic produce. The good news is it's not as complicated or difficult as you may think. If you don't have a green thumb, there are tons of books, magazines, and websites out there to help you such as The Everything® Grow Your Own Vegetables Book.
When you begin juicing, you'll already have the beginnings of a compost heap, a necessity in organic gardening. Find an out-of-the-way place in your garden and make a pile of leaves and grass. Save your fruit peels, cores, seeds, and pulp along with coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, and other compostables in a milk carton and mix them with the leaves. Throw a handful of dirt on top of the pile and stir it with a shovel. Nature will do the rest!
You're in Control!
If you have access to a deck, a roof, or even a small patch of ground, you can grow your own produce. Herbs can be grown on a windowsill, and tomato and bell pepper plants can thrive in a container on a balcony or patio. Hanging containers are a great way to grow smaller vegetable and fruit plants or herbs without taking up any floor space.
The best thing about backyard organic gardens is that you're in control of the fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and growing aids you use. Avoid toxic weed killers and pesticides, and opt for all-natural alternatives that will not harm the soil, animals, or your family. Limit weeds and reduce the need for chemical-laden weed killers by weeding regularly and using natural or reclaimed ground cover between your food plants.
Store-bought weed prevention products are also available in ready-to-use natural and organic versions, including Preen Organic Vegetable Garden Weed, Perfectly Natural Weed N Grass Killer, Weed Pharm Organic Weed Control, and Green Light Organic Spot Weeder.
Organic Gardening Resources
For complete details and lots of encouragement on growing your own backyard or patio organic garden, check out these helpful websites:
Organic Gardening, the companion site to the magazine Organic Gardening
Rodale's New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening is a classic basic reference for home gardeners. You might also want to join a local gardening club to stay abreast of what grows best in your soil.