Buying Organic: The Trials and Tribulations of Organic Milk


I quickly grabbed a half gallon of 2 percent milk out of the cooler case and placed it in my basket. Unfortunately, my four year-old son happened to notice the chocolate milk placed strategically in his line of sight.

As if grocery shopping isn’t stressful enough, the food industry likes to bait a tantrum. 

Luckily, I am able to distract my tiny human, telling him that his friend was waiting for us. My son and I were visiting my best friend, Molly, and her children. I was sent to the store to retrieve provisions to feed our small army of wild boys.

A large supply of snacks serves as the most important arsenal against meltdowns.

I loaded the milk, boxed mac and cheese, frozen tater tots, organic grapes, cheddar bunnies, popsicles, and a jar of applesauce onto the checkout belt. $24.89 later we were on our way back to my friend’s house.

grocery cart, child, shopping

As I pulled into her driveway, I noticed another car. My son and I walked in, carrying the food. As I set the bags down, my friend introduced me to her friend, Lindsey. Lindsey had come over with her two children. I pulled out the milk and put it in the fridge along with the grapes, and shoved the popsicles and tater tots into the freezer. As we talked, I saw Lindsey looking curiously at me. “Is something wrong?” I asked. She looked slightly uncomfortable, but immediately launched into a rant about milk. “Is that milk for the kids?” She asked. I replied, “Yes.”

Well, you should really be buying organic milk , do you know how dirty the conventional dairy industry is? That milk is practically poison. I would never let my children drink anything but organic milk!

I stared blankly and Molly stared blankly. I could feel tears welling up behind my eyes.

Was this woman, who I had just met, really accusing me of poisoning my child? I didn’t respond, I looked at Molly, and politely, yet pointedly changed the subject.

organic milk

Later that evening, after Lindsey and her non-poisoned children left, Molly apologized to me. I told her it wasn’t her fault, and that every parent is entitled to his or her opinion.

However, I don’t appreciate being told my choices are wrong. Maybe what bothered me the most wasn’t the way Lindsey accused me of poisoning my child with conventional milk (although that did bother me a lot!) It was that deep down I knew she was, in a way, speaking the truth. I wish I could afford to buy all organic groceries.

I graduated college with a degree in Environmental Science with a focus in agriculture. My knowledge of industrial agriculture, Genetically Modified foods, and pesticides is extensive. However, my husband and I both work two jobs each and between the mortgage, student loans, child care, a car loan, and everyday expenses, I can’t always budget for all organic foods.

I often have to make the choice whether to buy organic cheese and yogurt or organic milk. The organic pasta or the organic apple sauce.

In no way do I believe that I am poisoning my son. I am doing what a majority of adults in this world have to do: make trades offs, budget, and do the best I can with the resources I have been given. Some parents can only afford store brand cheese, others only buy locally made cheese at the farmers market. Some parents believe that hot dogs and canned green beans are a sufficient dinner. Other parents make sure their children eat every last bite of organic chicken and organic broccoli and drink their organic milk. Whichever you are, whatever you buy, however you choose to nourish your child, you are probably doing it right.

We are all doing the best we can with what we have and what we know.

In conclusion, I poured all tiny humans a glass of milk, one or two sips were taken out of each cup. We forgot to put them in the fridge and the poison was promptly poured out the next morning. Therefore, no children were harmed.  


  1. We vary between organic and not (and whole/2%/1% etc.). Heads up: Costco (yes, there’s a membership fee) has the most affordable milk we’ve found!


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