Food · Just my Thoughts

Organic or Not?

Everyone says you should buy organic.  While I think a lot of organic foods are good, I say you should buy local before worrying about organic.  A lot of local foods are organic also.

Then, I hear the argument that people on tight budgets cannot afford organic produce.  I do understand this issue.  Trust me!  As a single mom who at one point in her life relied on Food Stamps to make the food budget ends meet, it is hard to justify the increased cost of organic produce.  Again, I now go to buying local and as close to the source as possible as it is less expensive.

So, let me tell you a few things about organic produce.  In all cases, it is not your best produce buy.  There are several fruits and vegetables that you should purchase organic if at all possible.  The reason comes from these particular items having been found to have a high pesticide content when not organic.  The list varies from source to source but just slightly.  I am listing, side by side, two separate lists I happened about today.  The one on the left comes from Sparkpeople.com and the one on the right from the Environmental Working Group.

Peaches                                                                                   Peaches

Apples                                                                                     Apples

Bell Peppers                                                                          Sweet Bell Peppers

Celery                                                                                      Celery

Nectarines                                                                             Nectarines

Strawberries                                                                          Strawberries

Cherries                                                                                   Cherries

Kale                                                                                           Pears

Lettuces                                                                                  Grapes (Imported)

Imported Grapes                                                                 Spinach

Carrots                                                                                     Lettuce

Pears                                                                                         Potatoes

To save money, both groups – Sparkpeople.com and the Environmental Working Group – have also put together a list of the produce that is the least contaminated with pesticide residue.  That is not to say there is no contamination but it is less than with other items.  Again, Sparkpeople on the left and EWG on the right.

Onions                                                                                     Onions

Avocados                                                                                Avocados

Sweet Corn                                                                             Sweet Corn (frozen)

Pineapple                                                                                Pineapples

Mangoes                                                                                  Mango

Asparagus                                                                               Asparagus

Sweet Peas                                                                              Sweet Peas (frozen)

Kiwis                                                                                         Kiwi Fruits

Cabbage                                                                                   Bananas

Eggplant                                                                                  Cabbage

Papaya                                                                                     Broccoli

Watermelon                                                                           Papaya

Broccoli

Tomatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Now, there are many other factors to take into consideration when buying produce but if organic is you main concern, you should realize these areas.  To pay an extra 20 cents per pound – or more – to get organic bananas is probably not cost effective to the family on a budget.

Do you make a conscious effort to buy organic fruits and vegetables?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

Sources: http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-214

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=740

3 thoughts on “Organic or Not?

  1. Hi Nicki – I try to buy from our local farmer’s market and local farm stands as much as possible, which works great in the summer, but isn’t an option during the Midwestern winter. Off-season I do try to buy organic. I also try to keep us eating seasonally as much as possible, which I find is both cheaper and much more tasty.

    1. Kristen – I try to buy local more than organic. The farmer’s market here is not all that great but several farm stands are. The market in Ithaca is marvelous.

  2. I am a weirdo in today’s world in that I try to NOT buy organic. I think the quality is inferior and it bothers me how much more land it takes to produce the food. I make sure I wash things well, and go with the product engineered to last longer and sprayed to keep the bugs out. I realize this is not exactly mainstream, but it is how I look at it.

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