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Buying Organic 101

Ever find that an intentionally quick grocery trip has turned into an hour long affair?  If you are anything like me, shopping for produce can be overwhelming.  Cue scene:  I am staring at two apples, seemingly the same in size and weight, but differing in price-one is organic, the other is not, all the while trying to stay out of the way of fellow shoppers while maintaining eyesight of my cart…wait, where is my cart?!?  Anyways, I’m on a budget, so I should go for the latter…but then I hear that little voice inside me (actually, make that my mother’s voice) scolding me that health should be the number one concern.  Five minutes later and my eyes have glazed over in confusion, and not with the kind of glaze I like on my doughnuts (but that is an entirely different matter!).

On a serious note, buying organic and healthy ingredients, especially for your little one, is extremely important.  With so many options out there, it’s difficult to decide what’s best for us and our families, particularly with new research indicating going organic is not all that it is cracked up to be.  However, as a basic rule-of-thumb, steer clear of the “Dirty Dozen” as annually published by the Environmental Working Group.  The “Dirty Dozen” are the most pesticide-ridden foods, so if your debating on which items to buy organic and which items to buy for less, take a look at the lists below.

Here’s a list of the 12 foods you absolutely should buy organic, aka the “Dirty Dozen”:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries (domestic)
  12. Potatoes

EWG also added a “Dirty Dozen Plus” list including

  • Green Beans
  • Kale/collard greens

The good news?  Glad you asked!  Here is their list of the “Clean 15″ to potentially save you money on your next grocery trip!

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

Buying organic is a personal choice and one issue that is not yet totally understood.  Fortunately for us, the sacred watermelon snack of summer’s past and future can still be a worry-free option!

Happy Shopping! :)


Sources:  Environmental Working Group, and The Salt: NPR,

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