Go Organic!

Look for signs that say, this section is “certified organic” as you fight your way through the market crowds, particularly when it comes to the dirty dozen: the fruits and vegetables that consistently show the highest levels of toxic chemicals on and in them when tested by the USDA. (Research has shown that even small doses of pesticides disrupt the endocrine and nervous systems in fetuses, newborns and young children.) This doesn’t mean don’t eat them, just eat if organic, always. Listed in order, from most to least toxic:

  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • spinach
  • nectarines
  • celery
  • pears
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • bell peppers

While you’re sampling as you shop, here’s the 13 with the lowest pesticide count, that can be tasted or bought without giving it a second thought, organic or not:

  • avocados
  • pineapples
  • cauliflower
  • mangoes
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • onions
  • broccoli
  • bananas
  • garlic
  • kiwi
  • papaya
  • cabbage

Print out these lists as reminders or attach to your grocery lists; you could reduce your pesticide exposure as much as 90% and save a little money at the same time.

Read more of my column The Main Course on GreatGrub

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

Re: Go Organic!

This is really useful, thanks. There is, of course, another great benefit to buying organic: many organic products taste so much better. I remember the first organic carrot I ate in London and saying to myself, “so that’s what carrots taste like”.

Re: Go Organic!


This is good stuff. Now maybe my question is a separate issue — one of environmental concerns, but you say that bananas have low pesticide counts. I have read in Michael Pollan’s books that bananas that are not organically grown do terrible damage to the environment in which they are grown. If this is true shouldn’t we avoid non-organic bananas?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Re: Go Organic!

Thanks for your input about organics.

About thirteen years ago, my partner Jacqui and I started buying and eating organics wherever possible. Our first child was then a baby and we decided not to feed him on a chemical cocktail that exist in non-organic food.

Now we have a huge garden with over thirty fruit trees and another plot of land nearby (an allotment) where we grow as much as we can. Though a long way from self-sufficient we have a range of fully organic, home grown produce throughout the year. Food never tastes better than when picked and eaten fresh.

Great Grub provides a wonderful opportunity for those who have embraced the organic movement to share their food passion with other “Grubbers”.

Keep the organic comments coming.

Re: Go Organic!

Nothing like organics!

This year the village where I live in will be participating in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). For those unfamiliar, CSA participants provide funding for the farmer in advance of the growing season in exchange for produce when it’s ready.

It will be great getting a delivery from a certified organic farm and sustaining a local farmer.

Re: Go Organic!