Thursday, October 27, 2011

Top 10 Fruits and Vegetables to Buy Organic

Depending on where you live, it might be easy or very difficult to find a good selection of organic produce. It can also really stretch the budget to buy organic foods. If I could buy everything organic, I probably would - it is better for the environment, since not using pesticides is better for the soil, water and animals/wildlife. (*Update - I have gradually switched to buying more items organic than when I wrote this post, and when I can't buy all organic produce I use a fruit and vegetable wash to help remove wax and agricultural chemicals). Buying organic also generally means supporting smaller farmers, and where I live, it also means supporting smaller companies which does usually equal higher cost. But for a great reason! If we want to see change in this area, we have to be willing to actually pay what it costs to produce organic foods. Eating organic foods can also be for your health - some studies show that non-organic produce still contains residual pesticides even after you wash them. Since buying organic is sometimes quite expensive I wanted to come up with a list of the fruits and vegetables that are most important to buy organic and list some of the ones that are a bit safer to buy non-organic (although buying organic is still better overall for the farmer's and the environment). Here is a list of produce with the highest levels of pesticide contamination, based on information from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), listed from highest levels/rates of contamination, and are therefore more important to buy organic:

Sweet Bell peppers          
Imported Grapes (i.e. Chile)

Now, here is a list of the foods that were found to contain the least amount of pesticides - partially attributed to their thick skin that protect them, and are less important to buy organic if you have to choose:

Kiwi Fruit
It also helps you to think about buying seasonal produce - at first it is frustrating when you go and realize that half of the fruits and veggies on your list aren't there. But then it makes you realize that by shopping at big supermarkets we are never conditioned to think of buying seasonally and locally since there is a fairly consistent selection of produce by shipping it in from other countries when it is out of season. This also means that the food has probably been sitting a lot longer and loosing some nutritional value if it has to come from so far away, which is another great reason to think about buying local seasonal produce. It takes a bit more planning around what you will buy, but getting into the swing of things and thinking seasonally/locally and organic when possible is a great way to work towards healthier and environmentally-conscious food choices.

1 comment:

Mel said...

Very helpful info, thanks for posting!

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