Many of my clients (and friends, family members, and sometimes strangers in the grocery store) ask me if I buy all organic produce. I think the issue of pesticide residues on our food is important, but we also need to consider the environmental and social impacts of conventional vs. organic produce and where that produce comes from.
If you're concerned about the amount of chemicals and pesticides on your food, the first step is really getting to know your farmers. I belong to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group so I can meet the people who cultivate my food, ask what seeds they use, learn their growing techniques, hear their pest prevention strategies, and - my favorite perk - enjoy the incredible flavors of fruits and vegetables harvested at their perfect ripeness. You can search for a CSA (or farmers' market) near you on local harvest. So, at the end of winter I find the patience to skip the organic asparagus imported from New Zealand, wait one month, and buy it directly from a farmer who lives in my state.
But sometimes we get stuck running to the supermarket and trying to decide between piles of organic and non-organic spinach for our salads. As a basic guideline, the Environmental Working Group has created a list of the fruits and vegetables that have the most - and least - pesticide residues so you can make informed decisions to reduce your exposure.
Without further ado, here are the 2013 lists in wonderful graphic form from Body Unburdened:
Read the full report on the Environmental Working Group's website and even download an app for your iPhone so you can review the list while shopping.
And while we're talking about it, why not start your own garden? Even if you only have a window sill or balcony, you can grow herbs and greens and know exactly whats in the soil, on the leaves, and enjoy healthy, clean, homegrown produce!