Sometimes it isn’t always easy to decide what produce is more important to choose in its organic form over conventional. If you can purchase organic, it is always preferred. However, there are certain items that are still of good quality even if not organic. Even purchasing items locally can actually be better than organic, as it hasn’t traveled as far from the source. Some food for thought: experts say nutrients become lost progressively daily following a crop’s harvest. In addition, researchers have found that even low-level exposure to pesticides can affect the nervous system, leading to neurological and behavioral problems. Toxins used in farming accumulate in our soil, water and bodies.

For a general rule of thumb, produce that has a thick skin (like avocados) are fine when bought conventionally. The skin can protect the fruit or vegetable from any pesticide or herbicide exposure. Root vegetables such as ginger, carrots and beets are more susceptible to fertilizers, therefore making organic and/or local the best bet.  Certified Organic and Local is the crème de la crème when it comes to food. Many local farmers – even though they don’t use harmful pesticides and other sprays – are not certified to be organic as the cost to obtain the certification is out of their reach, so don’t always rule out local farmers. Farmers’ Markets are a great way to connect with the farmers and actually know what you’re buying.

Buy organic at all costs:
Apples, Celery, Strawberries, Peaches, Spinach, Nectarines, Grapes, Sweet Bell Peppers, Potatoes, Blueberries, Lettuce, Kale/Collard Greens.

If possible, buy organic or locally:
Green Beans, Summer Squash, Pepper, Cucumbers, Raspberries, Grapes – Domestic, Plums, Oranges, Cauliflower, Tangerines, Bananas, Winter Squash, Cranberries.

Safe conventional bets:
Onion, Sweet Corn, Pineapples, Avocado, Asparagus, Sweet Peas, Mangoes, Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Cabbage, Watermelon, Sweet Potato, Grapefruit, Mushrooms.

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  1. Informative article. Thank you!

    Anne-Marie Van Dijk | 03.20.2012 | Reply
  2. Thanks Anne Marie, I’m glad you found it helpful! Thanks for reading!

    The Chalkboard | 03.20.2012 | Reply
  3. Great information. Very helpful and cost saving! Thank you.

    Nicole Pressey-Elev8Dezign | 03.20.2012 | Reply
  4. Exactly! You’d be surprised how reasonable local produce is at your local farmers market and you know who you’re supporting!

    The Chalkboard | 03.20.2012 | Reply
  5. Nice, but I disagree with conventional corn. Conventional corn is GMO- more than likely, which means more than just nasty pesticide. Also, cantaloupe is often covered with fungicide, especially non- domestic. And domestic grapes are not as bad as they once were, but imported grapes are. It’s great that you point out how important it is to support our local farmers and just ask them about their growing methods. Thanks for this!

    jennifer | 04.20.2013 | Reply
  6. The info on root vegetables was new to me. Thanks, it makes sense.

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  9. Why is potato a “organic at all costs” but sweet potato is fine with conventional?
    Ive read sweet pots are some of the most heavily irradiated vegetables on the market.

    Jesse | 07.28.2018 | Reply

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