Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Dirty on Produce

If you’re anything like me (note: frugal, money-aware, budget-friendly = all very nice words to describe a poor college student), then you probably realized early on how expensive organic produce is compared to commercially farmed produce. Now everyone is well aware of the horrors of pesticides and GMOs, but when it comes down to buying a pound of strawberries for $4.99 or $2.50 - you can bet my cash strapped booty is reaching for the cheapest ones! This isn’t something I like or am proud of, but it’s economics baby. We’re in a recession!

So I decided to do a little research and find out what produce is most highly recommended to be bought organic. After perusing through dozens of sites, I found I was consistently referred back to the Environmental Work Group. The EWG is a leader in the health world, often testing products and produce as well as common chemicals to determine their affects (both negative or otherwise) on our lives.

It was here that I discovered The Dirty Dozen. According to the EWG, these are the 12 most pesticide-ridden fruits and vegetables and the ones you should buy organic most often. The list, from worst to best?

1. Celery
2. Peaches
3. Strawberries
4. Apples
5. Blueberries
6. Nectarines
7. Sweet Bell Peppers
8. Spinach
9. Kale/Collard Greens
10. Cherries
11. Potatoes
12. Grapes

The statistics they provided were more than slightly shocking. For example, out of all the apples tested, 95.1% were positive for harmful pesticides. That may not have surprised me much - if they hadn’t been washed before testing. However, the EWG tested their produce the way people would eat them and that means washed first. It made me think back to all the times I was too lazy to wash off an apple before devouring it or too eager to wash my cherries before popping a few into my mouth. Eww.

The EWG also says you can reduce the amount of pesticides you consume yearly by 4/5 if you just stick to eating these 12 fruits and vegetables organic. That’s insane! A few other produce items that I found repeatedly through my internet searching to be consistently dirty: red raspberries, lettuce, green beans and cantaloupe.

Don’t think you can remember these items off hand? Never fear! The EWG offers a print-out of this list as well as an iPhone App! Pretty cool, right? I mean, I thought so but I’m kinda nerdy.

Now that I know when to splurge and when to save, I feel a lot better about my purchasing power. I can still support organic producers while keeping myself out of the poor house! Cause dude - I’m way too pretty for the poor house.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday babes! I’m off for a run and a movie with the boy. A little Hot Tub Time Machine is in order. Has anyone seen that yet? I heard it was funny, but to be honest the trailers looked a little weak. Don’t tell my boyfriend I said that though, it would break his little heart.


  1. I'm such a nerd, but I keep a list of the top 12 in my wallet.

    Also, Hot Tub Time Machine is hilarious! It's really stupid, but definitely funny.

  2. hahaha I think we could be best friends? And that's awesome! I am now more excited to see it (:

  3. Haha I think the same way as you when it comes to cost. Being a university student is also my excuse for why I still shop at Wal Mart :). I haven't seen Hot Tub Machine yet but it sounds like a funny light-hearted one (the kind I could use right now!) Congrats on the 6 miles, you'll be up to your 13.1 in no time!

  4. Run + movie with boyf = perfection! Can't wait to hear how the Hot Tub Machine is. Also I love the description "money aware." No no I'm not stingy or cheap, I'm money aware! I eat so many berries, I need to start buying organic for sure.

  5. The dirty dozen... good to know, thanks for sharing! Now, if I can just find those 12 that actually look like they are edible. Sigh.


  6. I have seen this list before and it is great to keep in mind!!!!

    Hope you had a good movie night with the boy! I never saw that movie, but Mike and I saw ' Get him to the Greek' yesterday and loved it!!!!

  7. I want to see that movie!! I am cheap when it comes to shopping too, so I only buy the dirty dozen organic. Everything else gets the cheapest version lol

  8. I can't believe I was like the last know about it? lol where have I been!! You guys should have told me earlier!! Way to drop the ball on that one bloggies! (:

  9. I'm in the same boat with choosing cheap over organic. Not even kidding - @ Publix, organic tomatoes were $4.59/lb and the conventional ones were $1.99/lb...yeah, big surprise about which one I grabbed...I'm trying to pick up a little more here and there, though. Each item counts!

  10. I read this in a magazine. Isn't it sad that organic is so expensive? I eat a mix of organic/conventional produce. I wish I could eat all organic, but it's not possible for me right now.

  11. My favorite part about the produce section is the the little thunderstorm sound before it rains on the food:) It's like they slap "organic" on something and everyone assumes it's got to be better.

    Great findings!!

    No Hot Tub for me yet, but I do love me some John Cusack.

  12. Ooo good post! I try to eat almost all organic but i find it really hard to find peppers and blueberries that are organic! I have heard mixed reviews about organic blueberries though but I will not touch strawberries that are not organic anymore!! It's worth the splurge, although meijer usually sells them now 2 for $5 or 1 for $3...not bad for organic!