Friday, December 4, 2009

Dirty Dozen...

So it is now winter, we can no longer deny it! Thanksgiving is past and nights are regularly dropping into the 20s.

With the cold weather, for us, come those (unusual in the summer) trips to the grocery store! In the summer we hardly ever go, our grains, meat, and milk all are local. We raise our own eggs and grow our veggies. Fruit we get at the farmers market, in season. Sugar and flour we tend to buy in bulk. So with the exception of a trip for Organic Ketchup for our yummy spuds, or olive oil to put on them we, mostly, stay away.

However, that is no longer possible. We still have some of our own veggies in the freezer, potatoes and onions in the pantry, and a handful of collards in the field but if I want something fresh it means I need to go to the grocery store.

So the question becomes (since I am just a poor farmer!) what to spend the money to buy organic? Well first, we ALWAYS buy domestically. If it is a veggie or fruit needs to come from the US, the closer to us, the better. But outside of that, what should we buy?

Well here is a list of pesticide content of fruits and veggies: Complete list

To summarize the Dirty Dozen (in order from most to least contaminated:)
  • Peaches - Fruit is as sweet to bugs as it is to you!
  • Apple - Don't assume if the orchard is local it is organic, but it will probably be better then grocery store conventional, which are grown to be perfect!
  • Sweet Bell Pepper - Nice thin skin which you leave on!
  • Celery - No skin at all and a LONG growth period so lots of time for bugs to find it.
  • Nectarine - More fruit.
  • Strawberries - See Apples.
  • Cherries - See Strawberries.
  • Kale - No Wonder! In our garden the Kale is a flea beetle buffet!
  • Lettuce - Consumers want perfect heads.
  • Grapes - Imported - As I said we don't buy imported fruits.
  • Carrot - They have a tendency to grow in a way which makes them "unsalable" unless you spray them. They fork, twist, or don't look perfect. Plus! Organic carrots are cheap!
  • Pear - Basically, buy organic fruit!

Read the whole list for more, but avoiding these 12 things unless organic, will cut your pesticide exposure by almost 80%!

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