Ever wonder why, when, and where to buy organic?
Synthetic pesticides are toxic and can attack our central nervous system. Studies have shown an even higher risk for pregnant women and children as pesticides can interfere with growth and development. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides and 30 percent of insecticides are known to be carcinogenic (capable of causing cancer).
In October 2006, the Environmental Working Group published a list of the “Dirty Dozen” or worst offenders when it comes to levels of pesticides detected. The list is based on studies conducted by the FDA and USDA from 2000-2004.
Produce with the HIGHEST level of contamination from pesticides include:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Grapes (imported)
Produce with LOWEST level of contamination from pesticides include:
- Sweet Corn (frozen)
- Sweet Peas (frozen)
- Kiwi Fruit
Tips for buying produce:
- Shop Local Farmers Markets: Support your local farmers. Talk with them. Many times the farmer is not able to pay the hefty fee for the “USDA Organic” stamp of approval. Often times the farm follows organic (and sometimes better than organic) standards but is not able to label it as such.
- Buy in Season: Again, by shopping the farmers market’s, you will only be able to buy in season. Buying in season ensures you get the maximum nutritional value out of your food, as it has not been sitting around or preserved. It will taste better too!
- Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture): There are many farms who will provide you fresh, local, seasonal produce delivered to your door or your neighborhood. Some farms even provide eggs from pasture-raised chickens. Not only are you supporting your local farmer, but you are also guaranteed to get great quality, freshly picked, seasonal produce at an inexpensive price.
- Read labels: If you shop in a supermarket, read the sticker or produce sign to see where the produce is coming from. Ask the produce manager. Chances are organic produce grown half way around the world will not only taste poor, but not provide the nutritional content you need either. Fruits and vegetables lose nutritional value the longer they sit around from their original harvest date.
This article comes courtesy of: Kristin Hoppe, Certified Natural Chef.