So you know it is important to eat lots of veggies and fruit (in season) but do you need to buy all of these organic? Organic fruits and vegetables may be more expensive, so let’s talk about spending your hard earned money wisely.
First off, if you buy fruits and vegetables when they are plentiful and in season, you will save money. In Arizona our growing seasons are not like those in the rest of the country. We have the luxury of two distinct growing seasons in the fall and spring. Visit this website managed by the Arizona Farm Bureau to understand fresh produce availability by the month http://fillyourplate.org/produce-season.html.
Annually, the Environmental Working Group evaluates produce grown in the US and publishes the Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce. They produce a summary called the Dirty Dozen – the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables, and the Clean 15 – the 15 least contaminated. Here is a summary from the 2016 findings:
From the Dirty Dozen List:
- More than 98 percent of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines, and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
- The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
- A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
- Single samples of strawberries showed 17 different pesticides.
And from the Clean 15 list:
- Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
- Some 89 percent of pineapples, 81 percent of papayas, 78 percent of mangoes, 73 percent of kiwi and 62 percent of cantaloupes had no residues.
- No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
- Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen™ vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.
For complete results, see the EWG website: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php
So make yourself familiar with these lists. If an item is on the Dirty Dozen list, please consume organic, as buy definition, organic produce must be raised without the use of pesticides. If an item is on the clean 15 list, your choice, organic or conventional.
Ann & Emily