The choice between organic produce that has to travel great distances to market versus locally grown traditional produce can baffle even the most educated enviro-conscious Chowhound.

We’ve all heard the arguments for buying organic. Some hounds think it’s much more important to buy from local farms. Morton the Mousse thinks that it often makes sense to buy locally grown produce from small-scale farms who use environmentally sustainable, artisanal agricultural practices, regardless of whether or not those farmers are certified organic. Also, small farms can give more attention to their fields, which can mean less dependence on chemicals anyway, says ghbrooklyn. The organic buzzword has become overused; it’s more important to look for produce from “sustainable” local farms, argues Veggietales.

It may also be to your benefit. Large-scale organic produce is generally shipped in from far-away lands. It’ll be at least several days old, and will have been handled, stored in cold refrigeration, bounced, jostled, crossed time zones, handled again, shipped some more, and stuck in cold storage again, before finally making it to the grocery shelf, says Sethboy.

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Locally grown (not organic) v. Organic (not locally grown) … which do you prefer?

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