Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When To Buy Organic

Here's a helpful tip from the April issue of Cooking Light magazine. As part of an article about organic produce, they tell you which non-organic fruits and vegetables are more likely to contain pesticides so you can buy only the organic options that are worth the extra money:

Best produce to buy organic:
Bell peppers

Skip organic and save money:
They also recommend these other ways to save: buying directly from a local farm or farmer's market, or buying private-label organic products at supermarkets like Safeway, Stop & Shop, Kroger, Publix, Wal-Mart, and Whole Foods, all of which offer their own organic food lines.


teresa said...

There are pesticide residues, and then there's the environmental impacts of using pesticides and fertilizers that these lists never consider.

If you only care about your health, than this list is fine. Me, I care about coral reefs. A lot. I always buy organic tropical fruits because nothing kills a coral reef like a lot of excess fertilizer.

teresa said...

Whoa, sorry about the horrible grammar in this. I should proof read before posting!

Meg said...

I agree with Teresa, there are plenty of other reasons to buy organic: farmer workers' health, environment, to avoid being guinea pigs for GMOs, to get more nutritious food, to get tastier food, to promote more sustainable farming practices, to avoid antibiotics in animal products, to give less money to companies like Monsanto, etc.

I can't say I buy 100% organic all the time, and I do consider pesticide load when making decisions about what to buy, but I certainly wouldn't stop there if I had the money.

Adrienne said...

I've heard that basically if you "peel" the skin, as in don't eat it, there is no reason to buy organic. Yes, there are other reasons, as stated above. But those usually come with a price tag. It's a blance in my opinion.

1001 Petals said...

This is a great PSA.

I'd like to add peanut butter to the list. Peanuts carry a high load of pesticides.

Anonymous said...

1001 Petals added exactly what I was to say. Peanuts are well know to have loads of residue remain when being processed. Organic the way to go, regardless of how you feel about it otherwise.

I'd add olive oil to the list too - because so many olives in a batch go into the oil - and how they are treated. At least with an inorganic apple it is ONE apple you have to be wary of only.

Since I cant remember a list I usually go by thick-skin vs thin-skinned. Thin-skin and raw - yes organic. I also considered if I am cooking or not. And some things taste better organic IMO, regardless of "health" reasons.


Ensoleille said...

Consider when purchasing "organic" foods that there are other environmental impacts besides pesticides. Organic foods require additional tilling of the soils and more fuel/resources are spent on each organic crop due to loss of product from pests.

In addition to these, organic foods may need to be shipped further to get from a farm to the local grocer, especially if the product in question is not locally in season.

Organic may (questionably) be healthier for the consumer, but it is not necessarily healthier for the environment. The best choice is to purchase locally grown foods, organic or otherwise.

Meg said...

Actually, Ensoleille, many organic farmers till less -- if at all -- because tilling destroys beneficial bugs in the soil. Many, especially small scale, add materials from composting.

Also, through companion planting, crop rotation, introducing beneficial bugs, using natural pesticides/repellants, etc., organic farmers can eliminate a lot of pests. There are a lot of wonderful techniques out there for organic gardening. And losing some crops here and there can't possibly be worse than dousing the entire field in poisons whether there are pests yet or not.

I do agree with you about eating local and that in many cases local trumps organic for environmental benefits -- but that doesn't necessarily exclude organic. Many small farms now are going organic. They may not be certified, so you'd have to ask them directly about how they farm. And if they're not organic, let them know that you'd like them to be. They may change their ways!

Of course, many people eat hardly anything local, so organic foods may easily be about the same distance away even if they're being shipped long distances.

When I go to the grocery store, I try to find locally produced organic food first, followed by either local or organic depending on what's available and which foods will likely have the worst pesticides. It's all about finding a balance.

Ajlouny said...

I've heard that basically if you "peel" the skin, as in don't eat it, there is no reason to buy organic. Yes, there are other reasons, as stated above. But those usually come with a price tag. It's a balance in my opinion.

This is true, but the argument to this is, what about the farmers that are exposing themselves to pesticides and toxins to get us our fruit and vegetables. Organic is the way to go. Get the toxins out of our system.