May 22, 2007

When You Shouldn't Buy Organic

It's just so pretty! I had to take a picture. I'm about to make a fresh black bean salsa for a girl's night out tonight (yeah- you heard that right. Jealous?)

There was an excellent article in Time a couple moths ago- you can read it online here-
Eating Better Than Organic. Although it is quite lengthy, I encourage you to read it- it's full of valuable insight and information!

It's time to use common sense and decide when it's best to buy organic and when it might be better to buy a non-organic local fruit or vegetable. For example, you want to look at just exactly where the food is coming from. Is that non-organic vegetable coming from your state or the next state over? And is the organic item coming from clear across the country? Which one would be fresher? And which one uses less carbon miles to get to your grocery store?

And before you hem & haw about all of this being too confusing, too much to think about, or absolutely overwhelming, take the time to be informed about your grocery purchases. Don't let someone else decide for you just because you don't have time or want to think about these things. We must be smart consumers and make smart choices!

Sara at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly wrote about this very thing not too long ago. I am blessed that we have an organic CSA in our town. I am so excited to get our first share in just a couple weeks! If that sounds like something you are interested in, find out if there is one near you!

I did want to share a list of fruits and vegetables that you really should buy organic whenever possible. The following have the highest amount of pesticides and some (like the berries) are virtually impossible to remove even when washing:

apples, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, red raspberries, strawberries, bell peppers, carrots, celery, green beans, potatoes, and spinach.

You can see a very extensive list from the Environmental Working Group with rank and rating score if you click here and scroll down a little.

Now, I must get back to my salsa...


P.S. You have just a couple more days to enter the Mason & Matisse contest!

33 comments:

  1. OH, I am SO jealous of your girls night out!! Isn't there a list called "the dirty dozen" of fruits & veggies that have tons of pesticides on them?

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  2. CSAs are wonderful! How great that you have one so close. I love this time of year because the farmer's markets are starting up. Local produce is the best!

    Great post!

    Jane, Pinks & Blues Girls

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  3. Thanks for those links. Hubby and I are very concerned about pesticide loads b/c his current profession requires that he dump chemicals on plants to make them look pretty. He'd like a more satisfying job and i'd like a less cancer causing one but in his favorite profession we couldnt eek out a living.. gah.

    Those links confirm what I want to get back to - backyard gardening. it was so nice toodling out to the yard and eating our own fresh berries, peppers, etc.

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  4. Blueberries are another one that are full of pesticides and you can't just clean it off. I heard that on Daryl Hannah's blog, you know how I love her! They said blueberries if not organic are just small pesticide balls. Ewwwwww...

    Great info! It's good to get the word out!

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  5. Thanks for this information. I try to buy organic as much as possible. It is good to know when to focus on local produce vs. organic. I did not know that about berries - we LOVE blackberries! I am sure they are super tough to clean from pesticides!! I will be more informed as I shop now thanks to you! Be blessed!

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  6. Sooo, are we going to get the recipe for this yummy salsa?

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  7. We used to have an organic farm 1 minute from our house in Bham. Now we're in the middle of ATL, I'm going to have to check out some around here. Thanks for the black bean recipe! yum!

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  8. Definitely green with envy over the girls' night, but the black bean salsa looks wonderful too! Have a great time and enjoy enough of that yummy salsa for me too, kay????

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  9. Black bean SALSA and girls night out...I am So having a jealous fit right now!!!!! ::Pouting:: hmmm??? I'm wondering . . .were margaritas involved???? YUMMY!

    Steph...thanks again for all the help with my flicted blog. I owe ya!

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  10. Stephanie, I read this article too and was very impressed. A nutritionist quoted in the article, Joan Dye Gussow, has written an incredible book about this topic called This Organic Life - Stories From A Suburban Homesteader. You should check it out- it is a great read and even has really good recipes included in it.

    I got your email but I cannot reply (something to do with my new server??). We just got internet hooked up today in our new house which is why I haven't replied sooner. :-)

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  11. Ok, another double comment day! :o) I saw your blog and it reminded me of a great salsa I tasted a few weeks ago. My neighbor wrote out the recipe and was going to give me a copy but hadn't yet. So I emailed her asking for the recipe. I just checked back on your blog to see what recipe you were trying and it is the same recipe. haha Isn't it a good salsa?? I love it! Just thought this was funny.

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  12. That Salsa sounds yummy!!! I'm super jealous of it and the girls night out!! Have a great time!

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  13. girls night out.. I'm not sure I remember what those are anymore lol... I'm all for organic; part of the reason why we're moving to the farm so I can have a good sized garden for growing my own!

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  14. Have you been reading my blog lately? I had a very similar post today about food...more about buying locally, although organic is a huge concern of mine as well. Thanks for the list of top things to buy organic.

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  15. The CSA sounds very vaguely like a box scheme, except with a box scheme you pay for each delivery and don't have to commit longer term. I was wondering if those were available in Indiana?

    Lots of people here are concerned about where products come from. All food is actually marked with its place of origin. And if you want, you can get your box scheme produce to be stricly local, or with only a few imported items because if you don't already know, we can't get much more than tatties and onions from our soil. :) It's a bit more difficult to buy local in a place where not much is grown locally.

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  16. A vast majority of the produce I buy is on that list. Now, I *do* buy non-organic strawberries, because I happen to know that they come from farms just a couple hours away from here, but now that I know that about the pesticides, I'll see if any of those farms also produce organic strawberries. Thanks for the info!

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  17. Thanks for the lead. I go read that article now.


    Mike
    http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com/

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  18. great point!We live two blocks from a local produce farm and so that is where I buy (during the season - they are closed in winter of course.)

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  19. I saw a segiment about this on 20/20 and they confirmed your list.

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  20. I know that I have breastfeeding on the brain, but just today it suddenly occurred to me that breastfeeding is the ultimate way to "eat local!" :)

    Tanya

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  21. Great post Steph-that basket of veggies looks delish! I have been reading the Omnivore's Dilemma and it has changed me in so many ways. Matt has found a local harvest place too where we can get a big bag of fruits and veggies for a set price. I'm looking forward to trying some new things!! And what perfect time for it, summertime!!!

    PS. I'm even into SOY milk now, can you believe it?!

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  22. I heard this too. We buy organic usually, or at a farmers market this time of year. I think I saw that 20/20 Lori said she saw. Or maybe it was the Today Show talking about it. Either way I'm just glad they are getting it out there.

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  23. Great list. I too liked Sara's post a few weeks ago. I met a gal at a farmers market not too long ago who made this point very clear to me. It's crazy that food has to travel 100's of miles just for us to get it.

    Oh, and I also like to buy bananas organic whenever I can just because their peels are porous. Anyway, great links!!

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  24. Very good post. I've read, too, that veggies that aren't important to get organic are things like peas, bananas, mangoes, etc., because of their thick skin/shell- and hardly any or no pesticides are used or absorbed because of the skin. I'm excited for you and your involvement with the CSA!!

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  25. Enjoy your girls night! And your black bean salsa! Let me know what you think of the CSA we decided to just buy from their farm stand this summer, but my MIL bought me a share in the fall squash harvest for mama's day!

    I wanted to mention that it's important to ask questions of your local farmer's- many aren't "certified organic" - a lengthy and costly process- but do not use pesticides... so that local farmer may just be organic after all...

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  26. Great post. We joined a CSA and get our first box in a couple of weeks. I also read Sara's blog, but I don't always agree with her. I personally am not against 'corporate' organic, as the USDA organic standard apply to all organic foods. Many 'local' processed goods (salsa, cereal, crackers, yogurt, etc) are made at the same facilities as corporate organic foods, so even if the company is local (i.e. their headquarters is in your town), their product may be made across the country and carted back. Unfortunately, it is tough to know where processed foods are made, as it isn't required label information. If you really want to eat local, stick to minimally processed goods. New Mama's Nest is right about the organic certification process being prohibitive and that many small farms follow similar practices, but aren't labeled as organic.

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  27. I've been checking into locally grown food lately, and have yet to find any good information. Still checking!

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  28. Kathy / Lessons from the LaundryMay 22, 2007 8:02 PM

    Yeah...I get my first box next weekend. My farmer sends a weekly email telling about all the activities on the farm in the past week. I feel very connected to my food when I read his news. Thanks for the post...it is very important and amazing how many people don't think about it.

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  29. I agree with you. I've just checked out Sara's blog.

    Thanks for the great idea. Will discuss this with hubby.

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  30. I'm a huge fan of Sara's blog, and as soon as I saw that yours was entitled "Adventures in Babywearing", I knew that it'd be one of my favs, too. :) Great article from "Time". We live in a tiny rural town where local farm support is so important.

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  31. I always thought organic carrots tasted better. I am not sure if that is real or just in my head. Maybe I should do a blind taste test. Thanks for the list of foods!

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  32. Yup, yup, yup! I posted the dirty dozen and dr. green's organic Rx in my sidebar recently but I've been intending to add eatwild.com too.

    I was putting a can of organic black beans in my cart the other day and noticed "Product of China" stamped on the lid. Ugh!

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  33. Thank you for this insightful post. I'm still fairly new to buying organic and still have some learning to do ;)

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