Organic fruit and veggie priorities I'm learning!

Organic produce, what a great concept, right? I've been really trying to hit up the farmers' markets this summer, but it's been really busy so it's been hard to get there on a Saturday or Sunday morning! I appreciate the locally owned 24-hour grocery store I shop at for most things, but don't want to eat any more of their conventional produce than I have to. (And I love that our new house is 5 minutes away from the affordable suburban grocery store!)

We want to eat as much organic as is possible and responsible, but can't afford to buy everything we want organic and don't have any room for a garden. We've had a CSA in the past but knew we'd be moving in the middle of the summer so couldn't pick one with a convenient location. But, the farmers' markets are great for local, pesticide-free veggies, and I've been learning which items to spend the extra money on at the grocery store.

Every once in a while I've seen this list of which fruits and veggies to buy organic, because they're often very high in pesticides, and which ones aren't as important to buy organic--generally because they have protective skins or are in some other way more defensive against the chemical sprays. I was reminded of the list in our local paper the Oregonian not long ago, and clipped it out--this one's from the Environmental Working Group. (It was in an article about the apparent controversy over the testing methods, USDA vs. EWG about the number of each item tested, etc.--I'm not too concerned about the exact science, but if they found general patterns, that's good enough for me.)

Anyway, it's super interesting to note and keep in mind. I'm happy that pineapples, mangoes, cabbage, grapefruit, and mushrooms are among the lowest in pesticides. And it totally makes sense that apples, bell peppers, cucumbers, and kale are on the dirty list--I can taste the difference in those organic vs. sprayed! Ick! Unfortunately I eat all of those a lot. Luckily organic kale is pretty cheap at the nicer grocery stores, even when it's not on sale. (I've mentioned before my limited diet--fruits and veggies make up the majority of what I eat!)

So here's the EWG's 2012 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce--the Dirty Dozen (plus 2), buy organic if you can. The Clean 15 are safer so it's more okay to buy the conventional. Always helps to have priorities!

What about you? Any tips on where to buy organic groceries, or which ones are easy to grow? I'd love to grow my own in the new house, or just get used to buying farmers' markets in the summer!

12 comments

  1. Great post! This is very useful!

    I am really lucky because I have a farmers market 5 mins from my house, the only issue is that it's only on Saturdays but I usually make it a priority!

    I am about 80% raw vegan, and I don't find it limited so much as just different from the norm. I love Ani Phyo's books!

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    1. Very cool, I'm about 80% raw vegan, too! Ani is the best!

      I know, same problem for me, I would love to go to the farmer's market more but it's so hard when it's only on certain days!

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  3. I'm so lucky that our farmer's market is open 6 days a week! And it's right by my gym. It was overflowing with eggplant yesterday, which I have no idea how to cook. I love how easy it is to get fresh tomatoes and peaches.

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    1. Wow, that's amazing, an all-week farmers' market, practically!! Sounds delish. Eggplant... bet you could stir-fry it with Asian flavors, or slice into circles and sautee with garlic and mushrooms... much simpler than Eggplant Parmesan!

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  4. Interesting list. I generally dont buy organic as I'm not hugely bothered by it, but looking at this list I can understand why certain ones are in the 'dirty dozen' I might have to think about buying organic peppers from now on.
    I wonder if the list is the same for UK fruit/Veg or not... Hmm

    Pippa x

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    1. Interesting, I think the list might be different in other countries. The US agricultural market is kinda messed up and it wouldn't surprise me if we had different (more?) pesticides.

      I bet you'll taste the difference if you eat organic peppers, cucumbers, apples, etc! I really can!

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  5. I'm wondering about the same thing as Pippa- but for Germany, respectively. I'm not vegan but I do still believe that everyone should really start thinking about buing a) local and b) organically grown products.

    Thanks for providing this list!
    Yash

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    1. Good point, it would be interesting to see the list for other countries. There's probably a comparable guide!

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  6. I've seen those lists before and although I think it's really useful to know which fruits and vegetables contain the most pesticides because of protective peels, etc., I'd much prefer a list of all the fruits and vegetables which rarely contain pesticides and other nasty things because they simply don't need them. I think the 'clean 15' list bugs me because it suggests that as long as we humans don't consume the pesticides it makes it more OK for them to be near our food.

    I just moved and the other day I stumbled upon a really nice little greengrocer's in my new neighbourhood and can't wait to buy more locally produced and/or organic produce (in season!) and avoid the supermarkets as much as possible! :)

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  7. I have grown my own vegetables this year for the first time. Zucchini is super easy to grow. You just have to make sure you catch them before the grow too big (but still taste great). Herbs (basil, coriander, parsley) are also super easy.
    Tomatoes are also quite easy and they tend to ripen in August. One thing to keep is mind is to watch out for weeds...either you cover the area around with suitable cloth and cut a hole for the plant to grow...or you have to take out weeds every day. At least this is what happens in nothern Italy.

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  8. In Russia watermelons are in left part, I think. They usually contain a lot of pesticides and nitrates.

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