Thursday, February 26, 2009

Organic and Conventional Produce

Last year I read an article in Vegetarian Times that listed produce consumers are best advised to purchase organic.

It also listed conventional produce safe to consume.

I made a note of the list and I thought I'd share it with you today. It's a great reference sheet as you consider your weekly grocery purchases.

I also keep it in mind when I'm at the grocery store since the bulk of my purchases are fresh produce, beans, pulses and nuts.

Once I became familiar with the safe-to-consume conventional produce, purchasing it over the higher-priced organics, I was delighted by the reduction in my grocery bill.

Feel free to print this list out.

Buy organic:

Beets (thin-skinned veggies that grow underground absorb pesticides and heavy metals)

Bell peppers (all colors – conventionally grown are likely to contain multiple pesticide residues)

Carrots (are good at absorbing heavy metals from the soil)

Celery (most likely to contain pesticide residues)

Leafy greens i.e. lettuces, chard, collard greens, spinach (are grown low to the ground and are thus likely to have high pesticide residue levels)

Cucumbers (highly toxic pesticides are used on conventionally grown cucumbers)

Green beans (conventionally grown are sprayed multiply times with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides)

Potatoes (especially russets are highly likely to contain pesticide residues)

Winter squash (mild pesticides used, conventionally grown are acceptable if you don’t eat the skin)

Almonds (toxic pesticides and herbicides used on almond trees)

Peanuts (peanuts grow underground and are known to absorb toxins from the soil)

Pecans (pecan trees tend to be sprayed frequently with pesticides, herbicides and miticides)

Okay to buy Conventional:

Asparagus (does not appeal to many pests and so rarely treated with pesticides)

Avocados (low pesticide residues and a thick skin make the conventionally grown okay)

Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage (pesticides don’t work well on these veggies thus few are used on them)

Sweet Corn (though it may be sprayed with herbicides and some pesticides, it almost never contains pesticide residue, but buy local)

Eggplant (selectively sprayed with minimally toxic pesticides thus it rarely contains pesticides residue)

Garlic (has natural pest control and is rarely sprayed)

Onions all varieties (like garlic has natural pest control and thus minimally sprayed)

Rhubarb (rarely sprayed)

Sweet potatoes (pesticides are used sparingly on these)

Tomatoes (buy local)

Zucchini (doesn’t tolerate pesticides/herbicides)

Dried Beans (beans are sprayed with insecticides but are then soaked and washed and boiled so residues are likely removed – buy local)

Cashews (are grown in tropical locales where pesticides are rarely used)

Macadamia nuts (few pesticides are used on macs)

Sesame seeds (organic is better but pesticide residues are minor in non-organic sesame products)

In addition to the above, you might want to check out Food News for an even longer list.


Anonymous said...

I understand your concern about prices. My reason to buy organic is not the end product, but the process itself. I don't want: Seeds treated with chemicals, chemicals in soil, water and air, damage to fish and wildlife, monoculture and supporting Monsanto.

Louise Ross said...

I agree, I prefer to purchase and consume food that has not been treated or manipulated in any way, shape or form. And so I do my best to be discriminating about the choices i make, while also considering my budget.