Saturday, April 11, 2009

Produce and pesticides : What to buy organic if you can't buy it all

As I’ve mentioned before when I started this blog, I know how hard it is to try and make all the changes needed for a greener lifestyle. Sometimes it can be very overwhelming and trying to do it all at once can just be frustrating. Not to mention that suddenly buying everything organic can mean a major adjustment to the grocery shopping budget and going at it gradually can help you slowly incorporate smarter, healthier choices, without breaking the bank.

But where to start?

I’ve decided to start with produce. I did a little research and came upon quite a few varying resources for produce and their high or low pesticide ratings. So I considered the sources themselves and decided to compare them and it seems like many sites seem to agree with the EWG's (Environmental Working Group) Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides – Dirty dozen and Clean 15.

According to the guide, here are 12 fruits and vegetables that you should buy organic :

  1. Peach
  2. Apple
  3. Bell pepper
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarine
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes (Imported)
  11. Carrot
  12. Pear
And here are 15 fruits and vegetable that are lowest in pesticides :

  1. Onion
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet peas
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Papaya
  12. Watermelon
  13. Broccoli
  14. Tomato
  15. Sweet potato
For a full listing of all tested produce, click here!

Now, I list these with some reserves. I have found some contradictory information on other sites. The same main culprits are often there, but they sometimes have different rankings. I guess the first steps for all is to really start reading labels and packaging. Study what is available to you, look for healthy alternatives.

In the best of worlds, we would buy everything from organic sources, but if you can’t, try and concentrate on the ones that are most damaging and go from there.

Shop smart and be healthy.

Which produce do you already buy organic?


Anonymous said...

A really interesting post! Good to know what to pick and choose. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

Jenni at My Web of Life said...

This is a really helpful to know! I may even print it out to post on our fridge...
The frustrating thing in our small town is the organic options (or lack of) that we have. But I hate to increase my carbon footprint in order to drive somewhere just to buy organic produce. Thankfully, our town is beginning a farmer's market in May. I can't wait!

Great blog! Great post!

Yanic said...

Jenni -
I know how you feel... We cannot wait til the farmer's market opens here too. Luckily, living in a bigger city, many of our grocery stores have organic produce and goods.
If I can offer a suggestion : When summer does come around, freeze a lot of the farmer's market good you buy. We stock up in summer and have canned and frozen goods all winter long.