While I love the deliciousness and wholesomeness of the many organic foods that I buy, I don't especially love how much more I must pay for organic than for non-organically grown. I don't blame the organic farmers—it's not their fault that responsible stewardship of the land is so much more costly than the alternative—but sometimes, particularly in this economy, it's hard to pay organic prices. Anyway, the bottom line is that I buy organic whenever I can, because I really do believe that organic farming is better for the Earth and better for my children. Plus, in my opinion, organic tastes better. (Seriously, compare an organically grown tomato to one grown on a big corporate farm or in a hothouse. Which one is sweeter? And more juicy?)
But back to the fact that organic's more pricey.... You could argue, I guess, that organic is always worth the extra money, but your wallet might not respond favorably to that argument, and anyway, there are some foods that are "safer" than others. And when I say safer, I just mean grown with fewer pesticides.
Following is a list of foods that we never fail to buy organic because the conventional counterparts are either grown with gobs of pesticides or possibly swimming with hormones. Take a look:
Strawberries - Strawberries are seedy and tough to wash, thus making pesticide removal difficult.
Peaches - Peaches, many food experts agree, are more heavily treated with pesticides than any other fruit or vegetable.
Milk - While milk from cows injected with Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rGBH) has never been shown to cause human health problems, I'm still not a fan of hormones in my food.
Celery - Because of its stringiness, celery absorbs pesticides more readily than do many other veggies.Pears - Pears are sprayed with LOTS of pesticides.
Apples - Like pears, apples get a pretty hefty dose of bug-killer.
Peanut Butter - My kids eat a fair amount of the stuff, so I just feel better about buying organic.
Apple Juice - The last time I bought conventional apple juice, I noticed that it was made from fruit grown in five different countries. I like my juice simple and pesticide-free.
Grapes - There are oodles of pesticides on these babies, especially if they're grown outside the U.S.
Spinach - Leafy greens retain a lot of pesticides.
Admittedly, I can be a little fickle when it comes to buying organic—sometimes I buy organic chicken, for example, and sometimes I don't. But, as I said, I make an effort to go organic as often as possible. Even if you don't buy everything organic, every organic item you do buy makes a difference, not only to your health and to the health of your family, but also to the farming culture in this country. Your organic purchase sends a powerful message to farmers that this is how we'd like all of our food to be grown; by buying organic, you're saying that you believe it can be done.
Originally published in April 2009.
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