I'm having a crisis. My faith in organic food has been shaken, and I'm doing some soul searching as I try to figure out what's right for my family.
The setup: I'm a strong believer in buying locally, and I think that, in theory, the benefits to buying organic food are so obvious that it would take an act of willful ignorance to deny them. I want to buy food that is free of added hormones and antibiotics, free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. I don't want the animals that provide our family's food to have been fed a steady diet of trash (no, worse than trash) their whole lives. I want to support farms that don't add to our mounting environmental problems.
Yet I've been running into problems on a near-weekly basis with what I'm buying. I have to question the intelligence of purchasing food that just ends up being thrown away. I don't have money to waste. Who does?
And then the milk. I'm actually a little post-traumatic stressed about this. I had previously bought milk from this dairy three times, with good results. But last week's milk was terrible immediately. It was...chunky. I poured a glass, saw that it was bad and poured it out. I poured a second glass and realized it was the same. Then I smelled it. It was absolutely bad. I tried salvaging it by using a little as cream in my coffee and even that was totally unpalatable. I poured it all down the drain. This week I bought skim milk instead, from the same dairy. The expiration date on the milk is still ten days away, but as of today the milk was absolutely bad. I noticed it when I poured some in my coffee and it came out like a big dollop of slime. Slime - I've never seen milk do anything like that. I poured a little into a glass, and it looked fine so I took a sip. The taste and smell were unmistakable: vinegar. It tasted and smelled like vinegar. I don't even know how that's possible. I poured the entire bottle down the drain.
Why am I buying organic when I keep having these experiences? Is better living through science really a better concept than sustainable living through organics? What do I do?
I know the short term answers: I'll ask about the milk tomorrow when I return the bottle and see what they suggest. As for the broccoli, I can certainly do a better job of checking for freshness, but I don't know that I would have chosen any differently - that broccoli looked very good on Saturday. Maybe I'll avoid that seller altogether - his wasn't the only broccoli at the market. The short term answers aren't what I need here, though. In the long term, do I continue to buy organic, local food and hope that I have more "hits" than "misses?" Do I have that kind of money to waste on the "misses?"
I know what I want to do: I want to continue to buy local, organic food. I also know I don't want to waste more time and money than I already have. Organic foodies, do you have advice?