Food Shopping: When to Go Organic?

26 Jun

ImageWhen I think of “organic produce,” a few images come to mind:

1. Glowing yoga masters consuming oodles of freshly-juiced fruits and veggies

2. A guilt-monster gnawing at my stomach for not buying more “green” produce, given that I pride myself on going green elsewhere in my life. (Woohoo recycling!)

3. Fields upon fields of beautiful, and HELLA expensive, green things.

4. My rapidly emptying wallet.

Strugglebus much?

Which is why, when I recently read an article on Treehugger discussing which produce items to buy organically (and which wouldn’t blacken your soul if you didn’t), I was intrigued. According to their wise and well-researched folks, these foods should definitely be organic:


Who would’ve thought? The number 1 evildoer!

1. Apples (apparently 98% of apple varieties had detectable levels of pesticides! Ew!)
2. Celery
3. Sweet bell peppers
4. Peaches
5. Strawberries
6. Imported nectarines
7. Grapes
8. Spinach
9. Lettuce
10. Cucumbers
11. Domestic blueberries
12. Potatoes

They call them “The Dirty Dozen,” which I found pretty hilarious.


I don’t always eat my vegetables, but when I do, I go organic.

In contrast, the “Clean Fifteen” included the following winners:

1. Onions (They’ll make you cry, but not because of their pesticides! Heh heh, I kill myself.)
2. Sweet corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Cabbage
6. Sweet peas
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Eggplant
10. Kiwi
11. Domestic cantaloupe
12. Sweet potatoes
13. Grapefruit
14. Watermelon
15. Mushrooms

So the running theme: If it’s got a peel that you plan on eating, give it a wash or go organic. If it’s on the latter list, you’re probably either avoiding pesticides overall, or peeling / removing its outermost layer will help mucho in the non-pesticide-eating process. Who knew?

For those of you counting your pennies (and dimes, and quarters … ), I think it all comes down to balance. Remember that not every veg has to be organic in order for your conscience to be clean. Also, going local is just as beneficial for the environment, especially when many small-scale farmers (like the type you’ll find at your nearby farmers market) are likely farming pesticide-free anyway. If you buy some of the “Dirty Dozen” produce at your farmers market, and in season, your conscience will be clear. For more tips on how to make healthy eating decisions, check out sites like Best Food Facts or Treehugger.  Go internet! Beat non-informed-consumption-of-green-things!

(Lee Marvin could use some of those organic veggies, huh? The man looks pretty vitamin-deficient.)


2 Responses to “Food Shopping: When to Go Organic?”

  1. AmyT June 27, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    Yay! Food blog!!

    I found a great service in my area (not sure if they have these nationwide) that I think you’d be interested in. Its an organic buying club. Every 2 weeks I get to pick up a big box of organic (and usually locally grown) produce for $45. The club also sells eggs, milk, and other such items. There are many of these in the S. Fl area, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are common in most large cities!

    Without this, I’d never buy organic. Too expensive. I just wash everything well and hope for the best!

    • galleykitchengal June 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      Thanks! 🙂 There are a few cool-looking food coops like that in this area, too. Right now, the one that’s caught my fancy involves home-delivered dairy products. Hello, artsy fartsy cheeses!

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