We are recent converts to organic milk. I was a hold-out for a long time. Mainly, because I cling tightly to my working-class roots or, in other words, I'm pretty cheap. I find it an abomination to spend $5 for a half-gallon of milk, which is what organic milk retails for around here. So I never wanted to get into the habit and then have to swiftly break it on a milk-run to the bodega. Still, the organic milk is much cheaper than retail at the Park Slope Food Coop. The organic milk is only about 70 cents more expensive than conventional ($3.13 a half-gallon v. $2.43). The price difference has been decreasing over the last year as conventional milk prices soar.
Why did we change? A friend actually shamed me at the register (an occurrence that really could only happen at the beloved Coop), noting that I had at least a couple of boxes of cookies in my cart, how could I really be cheap enough not to buy better milk? "Think of your kids!" he wailed. He shamed me enough that I felt I should at least give the organic milk a shot on my next shop. After all, I end up buying organic fruits and veggies and tell all who will listen how much better organic tastes (usually). I was surprised, though, just how much better the milk tasted. My family loved the organic milk, even the 1% milk. My husband and 12 yr old son are on a campaign to never have to drink "low-fat" milk, while I valiantly try to offer it whenever I can. (Not going to all the way to skim, no thanks.) So, I'm swallowing my pride, buying organic and rationalizing that at least I might be able to get my boys to drink low-fat milk every once in a while. (My two-year old prefers 1% because, no joke, it is in a purple carton. She is always asking for the "purple milk.")
More on switching to organic
5 easy ways to go organic, NYT Well Blog, 10.22.07
In her Well Blog, Parker-Pope lists 5 easy ways to go organic: Milk, Potatoes, Peanut Butter, Apples, Ketchup. I totally agree with the first three. But living in New York State, I think local apples are the way to go. Many local apples are minimally treated, not strictly organic. Local apples taste better and buying local better supports the local farm economy. My feelings about ketchup are known.
On the subject, organic bananas taste WAY better than non-organic ones! Ask Umbra at grist.org says there is no nutritional difference, but taste is king for me.
Seven Reasons Why Kids Should Drink Organic Milk, Organic Valley Family of Farms
The Advantages of Organic Food by Organic Food Info.Net
Park Slope Food Coop's Linewaiters' Gazette has lots of interesting articles on organic and local food.