Thanksgiving is a time to be with family and friends and enjoy a seasonal bounty of some of our favorite foods. And while there are many fantastic organic options on the market, they often come at a higher price. If you have your own garden, you are already ahead of the game! But if you don’t, we have some strategies for optimizing your budget and health and deciding which items may be worth the organic premium.

Turkey

A turkey labeled “USDA Organic” means that the bird didn’t receive antibiotics routinely. (under current rules, poultry that is labeled USDA Organic may have been given antibiotic injections before it hatched and until its second day of life.) Organic turkeys also tend to be smaller, so they may be an affordable option for gatherings of fewer people. And keep in mind that one pound of uncooked turkey yields about 3/4 pound of edible meat after roasting.

Side Dishes

In terms of side dishes, it’s best to make them from scratch and avoid stuffing from a box and canned vegetables. Prioritize your budget on favorites like mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, cranberry sauce and stuffing by buying organic for the items that tend to contain higher amounts of pesticide residue.

Based on the Environment Working Group (EWG) study, celery, potatoes, carrots and US-grown green beans are worth buying organic. They have scores between 62 and 100 (with 100 being the highest amount of detected pesticide residues).

Sweet potatoes and onions score low on the pesticide scale (10 and 1, respectively). So organic is not quite as critical. Cranberries are in the middle with a score of 31 and winter squash with 32. If you choose the conventional varieties, just remember to wash thoroughly to reduce pesticide residues.

Desserts

Apples grown conventionally are on the top of the pesticide residue list, with a score of 89. So your apple pie is best if you can go organic. Fresh fruit such as pears come in a bit lower at 61.

Drinks

If your celebration is filled with lots of organically grown food, consider pairing your meal with beverages of equally high standards. Organic wines have come a long way. The grapes used for organic wines have been grown without chemicals and are much more sustainable and eco-friendlier than conventional wine.

So cheers to a happy Thanksgiving filled with delicious food and drink and group festivities! And as we wrap up a successful year at Yard2Kitchen Organic Gardens and begin planning for our 2022 season, we will be offering an early-bird discount of 10% for new garden orders placed before the end of January 2022. Please keep that in mind for yourself or for the ultimate holiday gift! As always, Contact Us with any questions.

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