We try to eat organic in our family whenever possible. I prefer my food to come from a farm in the dirt, grown with sunlight and water and not from a lab and a man in a long white coat, covered in chemicals. I’m a minimalist when it comes to most things, and that includes the ingredients I put in my mouth. A piece of fruit should be just that, a piece of fruit, without a slew of chemicals slathered on the outside.
However, with a large family, organic isn’t always possible. We compromise here and there and have adjusted to get what works best for us, which is always changing. It involves trips to the farmer’s market, a large backyard garden and a membership to Costco to buy organic produce in bulk that we could not otherwise afford, and it involves decisions about which foods are really important for us to purchase organic and which are less important. Luckily, there are yearly guidelines to help us with this part.
The Dirty Dozen is a list put out by the USDA of fruits and vegetables that retain more of their pesticides even after they’ve been washed. We try to buy these foods as organic whenever possible and avoid them when they aren’t available.
1. Celery: With no protective skin and harder to wash, pesticides are hard to wash off.
2. Peaches: Thin skin and lots of tiny hairs hold onto pesticides.
3. Strawberries: Buy in season and freeze or preserve for use during winter months.
4. Apples: Frequently subjected to heavy spraying to protect against pests, the pesticides soak into the thin skin and take up residence there.
5. Blueberries: Look for local farms or places you can pick your own. There are also several organic frozen varieties that work well for baked goods and smoothies.
6. Nectarines: Dirty, dirty tree fruits. This is one of them.
7. Bell Peppers: Try growing your own. Peppers are a pretty easy plant to grow with minimal pruning. Try growing a few next year from seedlings.
8. Spinach: One of the dirtiest leafy vegetables.
9. Kale: This superfood is also found to have super concentrated levels of chemicals.
10. Cherries: With cherries grown in the U.S. found to have 3x more pesticide residue than imported cherries, these are one to find organically grown.
11. Potatoes: They suck the pesticides up from the dirt, and the entire potato becomes a little chemical bomb.
12. Grapes: Specifically the imported ones. They get sprayed frequently, so beware and find a local, organic source.
Do you buy any organic foods?