Although the first day of summer has now officially arrived it has felt like summer for awhile now and these warmer months have me craving juicy fruit & crisp veggies more than ever! While we all can't afford or find 100% organic 100% of the time, it does help to know which produce contains the most & least pesticides so we can decide where to best spend our money. Environmental Working Group published a list detailing which produce was found to contain the highest level of pesticides, based on USDA studies.
Top 5 Most Pesticides:
1). Peaches (highest pesticide load!)
3). Sweet Bell Peppers
Top 5 Least Pesticides:
3). Sweet Corn
5). Onions (lowest pesticide load)
To view the entire list from most to least pesticides found, click here. To download your very own "Pesticides In Produce" wallet guide to take with you shopping, click here.
Believe it or not, those pesky, hard to remove stickers on your grocery store produce do have a purpose! The FDA has required produce codes for years, but you may not know what they mean. Well now I do thanks to Julia Robert's Green Guru! Next time you're at the grocery store, look a little closer at those stickers:
*Conventionally grown produce is labeled with a 4-digit number usually starting with "3" or "4".
*Genetically-modified (GMO) produce, is labeled with a 5-digit number starting with "8".
*Organic produce, is labeled with a 5-digit number beginning with a "9".
So how can we save when buying organic???
a). Shop local. Frequent your town's Farmers Market or nearby farm(s). For example, Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, CA has an organic farm that offers a membership so you can get your organic produce at a discount. Check out what programs may be available to you in your town.
b). Buy what's in season. This may or may not seem obvious but...buying blueberries in the winter is not buying "in season". Buying apples in the fall is buying "in season". For those of you who don't have actual seasons, it may be best to find out. A good giveaway is the price. If it's more expensive it's probably out of season.
c). Join a Co-Op. A Co-Op buys in bulk so they can qualify for a discount. Co-Op members split the bill to buy the goods. Check your local resources to find out if there's one near you.