Monday, April 19, 2010

Life is a Bowl of (Organic) Cherries: The Big Ten

With all the food recalls, salmonella-tainted tomatoes, E-coli found not only in meat but on strawberries and lettuce, and the ridiculous tomato scandal, my being a bit of a control freak about knowing where my food comes from feels increasingly justified.

Growing veggies (and fruit), investing in CSAs, shopping at farmers markets, seeking out local sources for meat and grain, maybe even keeping a few chickens in the backyard are all good. I'm still working on K (and our home owners association) to keep a few laying hens, but in the meantime the pastured organic eggs from the CSA are just dandy. The bee hive I've been lobbying for is likely to come first.

I mentioned in an earlier post that spring finds me at the grocery store more than any other season. The winter stores are depleted, and spring veggies are just starting to rev up. I buy organic when I can find it and the cost isn't prohibitive, but it's not a religion.

The following are the ten foods you should buy organic if you can. Tests have shown if these are grown using conventional practices they contain the highest levels of pesticides. You'll find this list in some form or another all over the Internet. Some sites claim the tests were conducted by the USDA, and others by Consumer Reports. But I couldn't remember all ten and had to go looking for them, so I thought it wouldn't hurt to repeat them for you.
  1. Potatoes
  2. Spinach
  3. Celery
  4. Pears
  5. Peaches (and Nectarines)
  6. Raspberries
  7. Apples
  8. Grapes
  9. Strawberries
  10. Cherries
Some also add:
  • Bell Peppers and
  • Milk Products
to the list. The latter makes a lot of sense, given the amount of hormones and antibiotics non-organic milk contains. For the most part, thinner skinned fruits and vegetables are at the most risk for absorbing pesticides. It also seems that other root vegetables would suck up pesticides from the soil just as much as potatoes do, but that's just me.

Here is more information about these foods and why to buy organic, as well as a list of conventional foods that have the lowest risk of pesticides.

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