Organic Food Savings: How That Bag of Grapes Became More Expensive

July 20th, 2008


It happened to me so many times, I almost thought I was losing my mind. I’d see a large bag of grapes priced reasonably, and decide to buy some. But when I went through the check-out, invariably I would notice that my “good deal” didn’t seem so good. Sometimes I’d ask to verify the price and hesitate when I heard the reply. Yet when the clerk asked if I wanted to keep them, I’d invariably feel a bit embarrassed and say yes.

Those were back in the days before the stock market meltdown, rise in energy costs, and deflating of the housing bubble. With food prices among our largest recurring purchases, it pays to look a little more closely at what gets put in the shopping cart.

And as my alter ego – OrganicMania – I feel newly emboldened to do so.

So when I saw a bag of organic grapes labeled $3.99 per pound, I almost nabbed them, but then I decided to look more closely to see how much the bag actually weighed. Well, surprise, surprise – no weight label on the bag of grapes. It wasn’t until I put them on the scale that I saw the grapes weighed more than 3 pounds, meaning the bag wasn’t $3.99 – it was more than $12!


Since grapes are on the “Dirty Dozen” list of foods with the highest pesticide residue, they should be eaten in their organic form whenever possible. But for many families, that’s just impractical due to the high cost. So what can you eat instead of organic grapes? Well, as we’ve discussed here, at $2.99 per pound, organic strawberries are a good deal – even if they’re no longer cheaper than conventional strawberries, as they were until recently.

Organic plums are another good value. The Tenleytown DC Whole Foods has organic black plums on sale for $1.99 per pound, a savings of $1.00 per pound. Just how many plums do you get for a pound? As I live-tweeted here, depending on size, you’re looking at four to five organic plums for $1.99. A much better deal than those organic grapes!

Other deals this week? I live blogged about them from my mobile phone via Twitter. Check out my tweets here, here and here. And sign up here to follow OrganicMania on Twitter!

What did you see in the stores this week? Did you find these tips helpful? Please leave a comment and share! You’ll make my day!

— Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

8 Responses to “Organic Food Savings: How That Bag of Grapes Became More Expensive”

  1. Bonnie Sayers on July 20, 2008 1:36 pm

    Good article with great pics. My 13 yr old is the only one that likes grapes. I tend to get them at Trader Joe’s. I haev been getting at Vons grocery store little packets of apples and grapes for his lunch at camp. They are perfectly sized. Due to my severe eczema I cannot touch fruits as it burns my skin so this is more economical in the long run for us. They sell five packets for about $5 and the individual ones are $1.49

  2. Gift of Green on July 20, 2008 5:08 pm

    I nabbed up those $2.99 organic strawberries at Whole Foods today. :) Plus, the 365 gallon of organic milk was under four dollars. Woohoo!

    Great re the strawberries. ! Are you sure that was organic milk and not just the rGBH-free stuff? Their organic milk is runnign about $5.69 per gallon, but you can get rGBH-free for considerably less. — Lynn

  3. Kristen on July 20, 2008 6:43 pm

    I am so excited that strawberries are finally reasonably priced! I’ve been depriving DD all summer because I didn’t want to pay full price for organic or feed her conventional. Now the poor child is eating nearly nothing BUT strawberries! I can cram a year’s worth of strawberry-based nutrition into a few weeks, right??

    Absolutely! :) And don’t forget, strawberries freeze buy up now and freeze for later… Lynn

  4. mama k on July 20, 2008 7:18 pm

    sigh. I always get taken for a ride at whole foods. I rarely go as there are none near me, but I was in the area last week. I bought some “organic” apples, only to find when I got home that they were in fact conventional as per the numbers. I guess I read the signs wrong. While there I also picked up a bag of prebagged organic apples (for real this time). So far, two were rotten through. If I lived closer, I would definitely be returning them. Way off topic, but that really bummed me out this week. I hate tossing food I spend my hard earned money on.

    We’ve stopped eating grapes, strawberries and many of the dirty dozen items because they are simply too expensive to buy organic.

    Sorry to hear that mama k. You might just forward your message to Whole Foods customer service at this link: ( ). I wouldn’t be surprised if they refunded your money. I’ve always found them to be good about customer service issues. But I agree with your observation – the labels in the store leave something to be desired and it is quite easy to think you are getting one thing when in fact you’re getting something else. I’ve been tweeting about that over on twitter when it happens to me. ( ) — Lynn

  5. Shannon on July 23, 2008 9:36 pm

    I really wish there was whole foods close by. The organic fruits and veges selection is limited at stores. But, I have had fairly good luck at the farmers market. Still, I do miss many of the fruits and veges that are not grown in my area.

  6. pamela on August 2, 2008 7:39 pm

    I just recently realized that the price of grapes was not for the bag…time for me to pay more attention.

    Strawberries and blackberries are reasonable here in California right now.

    Wow, Pamela! Thanks for stopping by OrganicMania! Hey everyone, check out, Pamela’s site! — Lynn

  7. Zeer Green Team Series – What Is Organic Food, Anyway? on September 12, 2008 3:25 pm

    […] food, organic moms and organic enthusiasts have a few tips including Organic Mania, that suggests replacing high cost grapes with lower cost plums and Chicago Mom suggests joining a community farm or food growing program to alleviate […]

  8. der on February 23, 2009 6:19 pm

    Actually, it’s only the IMPORTED grapes that are on the dirty dozen. Domestic grapes are #20 on the list:

    Another alternative to fresh grapes is organic raisins. My local co-op has raisins (with no sulfites) for $2.79 a pound, which is $0.30 for 1 serving. :)

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