Headed towards back to the basics living.


Buying Organic: When it’s Worth that extra Buck or Two

Do you ever have such a great day that you think you might actually need a tutorial on how to land from 50 feet in the air? I seriously could have used it myself yesterday-we got to see an u/s of  our first baby due in September. My heart was blown away, but as I was drifting down in a bubble of happiness I remembered that we had one other stop before we headed back home. The grocery store. And not just any grocery store but Whole Foods Market. Now I’m thankful for WF, especially when spring has not yet sprung and there are no Farmer’s Markets to speak of and my summer garden is merely a twinkle in my eye, but whew it sure can cause your pocket-book to take a hit. **Note to self: Must learning canning and freezing techniques this summer.

So, in order to give my baby (not mention dear old self) the best nutrition minus nasty chemicals all while trying to save a buck or two, I refer back to my list of the “Dirty Dozen.” (Insert ominous sounding noise here.) I’m guessing you might already have seen this list but possibly not referred to in this way. It’s the name given by the Environmental Working Group to fruits & veggies known to have the highest amounts of chemicals in them. There is also a list known as the “Clean 15”.  These include produce that have relatively lower amounts of chemicals in them. So if you can’t afford to buy every last bit of your food organic these lists will at least let you know where you get the most bang for your nutritional dollar.

I think the easiest way to keep track of what’s what is to download and print the small pocket-sized list offered on the EWG website. If you have an iphone they also have a free app that you can download. (Oh you lucky soul!)  I carry the print version right behind my debit card in my wallet. It has saved us more than a few dollars and headaches trying to remember if something was worth that extra dollar or two.

One other thought to help you know if something is worth buying organic or not is to consider how much of it your family consumes. If you eat, say a ton of tomatoes, then even though it’s listed as one of the Clean 15, it MIGHT  be worth it to buy organic just because of the sheer volume consumed.

Also consider buying frozen fruits & veggies over fresh ones when out of season. The idea is that frozen produce is grown and picked at peak growing season for that particular item so less chemicals are used to grow it than the fresh ones available now because they are being grown out of season and trucked from far away.

Here’s the list below. Do any surprise you?

Dirty Dozen:

  1. Peach
  2. Apple
  3. Bell Pepper
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarine
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes (imported)
  11. Carrot
  12. Pear

Clean 15

  1. Onion
  2. Avacado
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet Peas
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Papaya
  12. Watermelon
  13. Broccoli
  14. Tomato
  15. Sweet Potato

There’s also a complete list of where all the different fruits and veggies rank, if you click here.