Monday, June 13, 2011

On Eating Organic...

Chris and I have dabbled around in buying organic foods for awhile now. There are numerous articles out there discussing the health and other benefits, however we (admittedly) haven't put a huge emphasis on it up until this point. Now that S is eating solids, however, we're making an effort to change this! While it's not practical (or highly affordable) to plan to buy EVERYTHING organic, there is a short list of produce we're going to really focus on. You may have heard of it - it's called "The Dirty Dozen". Developed by the Environmental Working Group, these are foods that are commonly laden with a large number of pesticides which are difficult or impossible to clean off. It appears that the list changed slightly in 2010; here's the latest short list:

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

In an ideal world, all of the food we eat would be organic, however this may not be practical or affordable in all cases. Luckily, there is also a "Clean 15" list of fruits and veggies which are least affected by pesticides and therefore not considered as important to buy organic:

1) Onions
2) Sweet corn
3) Pineapples
4) Avocado
5) Asparagus
6) Sweet peas
7) Mangos
8) Eggplant
9) Cantaloupe (domestic)
10) Kiwi
11) Cabbage
12) Watermelon
13) Sweet Potatoes
14) Grapefruit
15) Mushrooms

Info on both the (older) Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 can be found here.
Info on the latest Clean 15 can be found here.

Also, I found the following "cheat sheet" which can be printed out as a quick reference!

Today, S and I are going to head down to Pfennings Organics & More in St. Agatha and check out their organic produce section. Pfennings also offers four types of organic produce baskets (blender, fruit, local and wild) which change week to week. They also offer free delivery to surrounding areas. We might start ordering these! I love the local basket in particular; organic AND local - a great combo! Plus, the fact that the basket's contents change week to week will encourage us to try different recipes and preparations.

I'm also going to scout out other good sources for organic produce - in particular, foods from the Dirty Dozen list. The local supermarkets have some selections, but they're limited and unpredictable. In cases where we can't buy organic, we're going to at least strive to buy local. Ontario farmers have reduced their chemical pesticide use considerably within the last 25 years and there are ongoing initiatives to continue this trend.

So how about you? Do you strive to buy & eat organic foods? If so, do you focus on the Dirty Dozen or do you try for broader adoption? Where do you buy your organic foods?


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