When I first started our family's journey towards 'clean eating' I immediately headed to the organic section. I wanted to reduce our exposure to as many chemicals as possible (hello - some studies show these toxins disrupt brain development and are toxic to the nervous system. Yikes!). However, I also realized that going from where we were at in our food budget (a.k.a. super-couponer) to strictly organic could be quite costly.
Enter the Environmental Working Groups 'Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce'. Each year they analyze pesticide residue in the most commonly purchased fruits and vegetables then create a list in order of highest to lowest pesticide residue. This is helpful because it places emphasis on which produce you should buy organic and which is ok to lean towards conventional.
You can read more great info in the Environmental Working Group's summary on their website. On a side note, if you find yourself at the store without this list, I like to use this general rule of thumb.....if you're going to eat the skin/flesh then buy organic, if you're going to discard the skin/flesh then conventional is probably ok.
I'm also a big advocate of buying local which doesn't always carry an Organic label. In that case you can ask them about their growing practices and pesticide use.
Oh yeah. Remember that one time I paid $7.99/lb for organic asparagus because I didn't realize they were on the Clean 15 list and I didn't check the price first? Yep, that really happened...just once! Lesson learned.
Here's the 2014 EWG's Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list so you don't have to make the same mistake I did! Happy shopping 🙂
2014 EWG Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 - Guide to Buying Organic