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Eat Healthy and Save on Organic Produce!

Jul 25, 2012 12:00 am

Bitsy recently had a great quick tip about how to save money on organic produce. Fruits and vegetables called the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, here they are in more detail.

Dirty Dozen: If your budget means that you have to pick and choose what to buy organic, these are the fruits and vegetables to go for. Called the dirty dozen, they showed the highest pesticide residue during testing. And who wants to taste that in their salad?! This year, green beans and kale/greens have been added in a plus category. ( I guess the Dirty Fourteen just didn't have the same ring to it). Listed here in alphabetical order, the top three highest in residue are actually apples, celery and bell peppers. According to Environmental Working Group, the non-profit group that releases this information, celery tested positive to 57 different pesticides! You can see a list in order of pesticide residue here.

Clean Fifteen: These fruits and vegetables showed the lowest pesticide residue, with the top three being onions, sweet corn, pineapples. I was really surprised to find mushrooms on this list, as it was something that I had assumed would be important to buy organic. It does scrape in at number fifteen, so perhaps buying them organic isn't such a bad thing! See the list in order here.

I love that this list is available as an app for iPhone, Android and Windows! And if you don't have a smartphone, you can download a pdf file. Just enter your email address and zip code for access.

Now you know what to focus on buying, where can you shop to save even more money? Check whether there is a food co-op near you. With produce at around 40% cheaper than farmer’s markets, and any member or investment fees refunded when you leave, they are a great option. Most co-ops require members to work one shift every month, with a shift generally being around 4 hours long. This is how a co-op keeps its prices down, and it's a great way to get to know other co-op members. Search for one in your area on the Co-Op Directory Service.

Farmers' Markets and CSA: If you don't have a co-op handy, look for farmers' markets or a CSA near you. CSA stand for Community Supported (or Sustained) Agriculture. Basically, a farmer sells "shares" to the public, and in return for a membership fee, consumers receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. The benefits for the farmer is receiving payment early in the season, and the benefit for the consumer is extremely fresh produce, knowing exactly where it came from, and who grew it. Local Harvest is a website with more information, and also has a handy locator to find a CSA or farmers' market near you.

How do you decide what to buy organic? Are you a member of a food co-op or CSA, or have a favorite Farmers' Market? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Organic, organic produce, vegetables, fruit, shopping, grocery shopping, farmers' markets, CSA, food co-op, co-op

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