Should you pay triple the price for an avocado because it is organically grown? Probably not…. but you should if you’re buying celery.
There is a widely differing opinion on whether or not organic produce is nutritionally more beneficial than non-organic and as we all know buying organic can be outrageously expensive. So the real question is – how important is it to buy organic? Aside from the nutritional value the main issue is the chemical residue from pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers that are sprayed onto the produce when farmed. For example, potatoes are sprayed several times with herbicides, pesticides and fungicides in their short little lives: as sliced potato “seeds” before they are planted, the leaves are sprayed while the potatoes are growing below, and the mature potatoes are sprayed after they’re harvested.
Recently the Environmental Working Group released their Short List of the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen; the fruits and vegetables that are very low in pesticides (clean) and those that retain the most pesticides (dirty). This is a great list to keep in mind next time you’re doing the weekly grocery shop. I’m not too concerned about buying non-organic produce but I do and would recommend at least avoiding the Dirty Dozen.
The Clean 15 – Least pesticide residue found; OK to buy non-organic
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Sweet potato
- Honeydew Melon
And on the flip side these are the list of fruit and vegetables you should try to buy organic (from the farmer’s markets or wholefood stores if possible)…
The Dirty Dozen – Worst; this produce should always be purchased organic:
- (the dirtiest) Celery
- Grapes (imported)
The EWG estimates that by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the cleanest, consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80%! So consult your list and with a clean conscience load up your basket with fresh, seasonal produce.