Thursday, April 10, 2008

Going Organic: the "Must Buy Dirty Dozen"

If you're like me, it's really hard to know when to spend the extra money to buy organic. Today I read a list in The Sneaky Chef in which the "dirty dozen," fruits and vegetables that the USDA Pesticide Data Program determined to be most contaminated by pesticides, are ranked. Here are the top twelve in order of most pesticide residue to least:

Peaches
Strawberries
Apples
Spinach
Nectarines
Celery
Pears
Cherries
Potatoes
Sweet bell peppers
Raspberries
Imported Grapes

It's highly recommended that these items be bought from organic sources. According to The Sneaky Chef,
"If you eat these foods on a regular basis, you are exposing yourself to more than twenty different pesticides per day."
Yikes.

We have a couple of apples trees, though they often don't do terribly well. We grow spinach, peppers, and strawberries. We only eat grapes when they are ripe off our vines in the fall. (I quit purchasing grapes awhile back when I stopped buying fresh produce grown out of the country.) We make grape juice as well. We've tried to grow potatoes but need to make a greater effort. A friend of mine grew celery in her garden last year with success, so I think I'll add it to my garden list for this year.

But as for the rest--peaches, nectarines, pears, cherries, and raspberries--SIGH. I guess it's time to look for a local organic source. I don't want to give up PEACHES!!!!

A couple noteworthy points from the article linked above:

How to protect yourself from “non-organic” pesticides:
Produce
  • Buy fresh vegetables and fruits in season. When long storage and long-distance shipping are not required, fewer pesticides are used.
  • Purchase only fruits and vegetables that are subject to USDA regulations. Produce imported from other countries is not grown under the same regulations as enforced by the USDA. Examples are strawberries and cantaloupes from Mexico.

2 comments:

jennifer said...

Several summers ahead of you on your search......PEACHES have been the most challenging!!!!! And the one no one here is willing to forgo! Last year we found them with acceptable (to us) spray but that orchard is on it's way out. This summer presents a whole new challenge.

Teddi said...

I found this orchard on a website, but don't know anything about it other than it's in Hillsboro:

Moore Organic Peaches
29000 SW Burkhalter Road, phone: 503-648-6359

Also, the CSA I belong to (Denison Farms) supposedly has organic peaches. If we get some in our box, we can order larger quantities. I'll let you know.

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