Over the past couple of years, I have made a gradual effort to incorporate organic foods into our lives. We're not all organic, not by a long shot (and never would be, unless Frito Lay starts making organic Doritos, LOL!). But, when possible, I try to buy organic fruits and veggies, if they look like good quality and there isn't a ginormous price difference. I do find that the organic produce I find in my regular grocery store tends to go bad a lot quicker than the conventional stuff. I'm not sure why that is, but I have to be careful not to buy more than we'll use in a week.
I also will buy organic grain products - cereal, rice, oatmeal, etc. - when I find them. As for meat and dairy, a friend tipped me off a while back that, at our local Fred Meyer, when the organic stuff gets close to its sell by date, the price is slashed dramatically. So when I find those beloved "orange tags", I snag them. We end up getting organic milk about half the time (though I do pay full price every week for my daughter to drink organic whole milk), and the occasional pound of ground beef, that way.
I started buying the organic eggs about six months ago - I was buying the cage free ones, anyway, and the organic ones were only about 70 cents more a dozen, so I figured, what the heck? And now, apparently, I can't go back, because a few weeks ago I was at a different grocery store, and they didn't have organic eggs, and I bought regular ones and they were NASTY.
That said, I have never made much effort to buy local food. I've almost always had a vegetable garden of some sort, and I am the occasional farmer's market shopper (mostly during strawberry season). But I never really thought about it much, or made an effort to seek it out. Over the past year that, too, has changed. Last spring, a CSA opened up down the street from my office. I couldn't convince hubby to sign up, but I did take advantage of their farm store, and bought produce from them nearly every week over the summer. This fall, they also started carrying local honey from a farmer in the next town, and I coughed up the $20 to buy a jug of it. I am so glad I did - the difference between that and the Costco honey I've been buying all these years is like night and day!
For the past eight years, I've been driving by a local butcher/smokehouse about a mile from my house. I've seen them at the farmer's market in the past, but always thought they just did bacon and sausage. Then I did a little research and found out that they also sell beef, pork, and buffalo. On Friday, my daughter and I stopped in to check them out. Turns out all the meat is raised about 20 miles from us, and it's hormone-free, mostly antibiotic-free (they give the cows antibiotics when they are first born), and grass fed beef. I was afraid the price would be completely unreasonable, but it turned out that it is the same or less than the grocery store where I usually buy my meat (depending on the cut)! I was so excited. I bought a roast, some pork chops, and 10 pounds of ground beef to try, plus some pepper bacon (which was divine - we had it for breakfast this morning). They threw in some buffalo sausage for free, since I was a first time customer. Can't wait to try that!
So there I go, expanding my horizons again. Now, I would love to find a local source of dairy products and chicken. I can get local eggs, but they're $6 a dozen so I just keep buying the organic ones at the store...