Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Produce Worth Buying Organic - The Dirty Dozen

Did you know there are certain fruits and veggies grown in heavy pesticides and others not so much? When I first got my hands on the list of heavily treated produce I was bummed because it was all of my family's favorite foods and at the time I wasn't buying it organic. To me produce was produce and I just bought whatever. But that all changed...

So here is the deal; the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit research organization, did a study researching the level of pesticides used to raise conventionally grown produce. They found there are 12 foods, known as the Dirty Dozen, grown with the highest level of pesticides - resulting in high exposure for those who ate these fruits and vegetables. They reported that you could cut down on your pesticide exposure by 90% if you ate fruits and veggies using minimal pesticides rather than eating the Dirty Dozen. Did I mention that the Dirty Dozen are hands down my family's favorite produce, so that was not going to happen. So I made the decision to buy these items organically to avoid the "high level" pesticide exposure. But I say that lightly, because I am well aware that even farmers of organic produce are allowed to spray their crops with natural pesticides, but to me a little is better than a lot. Here is the list that changed the way I shopped for produce:

"DIRTY DOZEN" - Buy This Produce Organic!

1. Apples
2. Strawberries
3. Peaches
4. Grapes (imported)
5. Nectarines
6. Blueberries (domestic)
7. Celery
8. Spinach
9. Sweet Bell Peppers
10. Greens (Kale and Collards)
11. Lettuce
12. Potatoes

The EWG also states "Eat your fruits and veggies even if you don't buy it organically;  the benefits outweigh the pesticide exposure."

"CLEAN 15 "  - Buy Non Organic, if you want!
Based on the EWG's research the "Clean 15" are fruits and veggies grown with the least amount of pesticide influence. Here they are:

1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn
3. Asparagus
4. Sweet Peas
5. Eggplant
6. Cabbage
7. Sweet Potatoes
8. Mushrooms
9. Pineapples
10. Avocados
11. Mangoes
12. Cantaloupe (domestic)
13. Kiwi
14. Watermelon
15. Grapefruit

No Matter What (Organic or Non-Organic)- Clean Your Fruits and Veggies

Regardless if you buy organic or non organic produce, do yourself a quick favor and clean it. Because no matter what that produce has been picked by someone (hopefully not picking their nose at the same time), boxed, shipped, unpacked, placed on the grocery shelf, and possibly even subjected to abuse from a couple of kids roaming the grocery store living out their dream of being jugglers while their mother shops. So again, give it a wash. We use something that can be purchased at your local health food store: Veggie Wash. It's all natural and removes dirt, soil and wax using organic citrus.


  1. Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

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  3. Ugh. You have no idea how hard I try to make sure my kids get safe CLEAN fruits and veggies. It's enough to give a mom a panic attack grocery shopping.

  4. We do our best, right? Maybe we should all start farming in our back yards. :-)

  5. I needed this list! I can sort of guess which ones are more important to buy organic, but there are a few surprises. I would've though potatoes AND sweet potatoes would be on the organic list. I'm glad I can save a little money with that one!

    The Smile Conquest Day 77 First Day of My Part Time Job