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To Buy Organic or Not

Vibrant Produce

Buying organic is certainly a hot topic these days. It certainly sounds better to buy organic fruits and vegetables. But what does buying organic really mean? And is it worth the extra cost to do so? In order for a product to be advertised as organic, it must meet certain criteria and be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The land where organic crops are grown must be free of certain pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers for three years. Farmers must also have their operations inspected and pay a fee, starting at around $750. There may be additional inspection and assessment costs. For small farming operations, this can prove to be too costly even if they grow using organic principles. If you’re concerned about the extra costs involved in purchasing organic fruits and vegetables, keep in mind the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. Certain fruits and vegetables have more pesticide or herbicide residue. Buying organic versions of these twelve items is better for your health. The Dirty Dozen are: apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, and sweet bell peppers. Sometimes included are kale/collard greens and summer squash. The Clean Fifteen are: asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, sweet corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, mushrooms, onions, papayas, pineapples, sweet peas, and sweet potatoes. If you do buy non-organic versions of the Dirty Dozen, be sure to wash the produce thoroughly and avoid eating the peeling. Fortunately, as consumers become more aware of the potential effects of pesticide residue on produce, organic prices are coming down. Also, organic foods are more readily available than ever before. Plus, to me they just taste better. Do a comparison yourself and let me know what you think.

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