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The Dirty Dozen: which foods to buy organic

Posted by Meg Stout on Aug 23, 2012
Tags: green tips

Nothing evokes summer more than fresh food: succulent red tomatoes, sweet corn slathered with butter, vegetables roasting on the grill. Gardens reconnect us to what we eat. Still, most people shop at the supermarket at least some of the time, where we’re confronted with this question: to buy organic or not?

The health benefits of organic fruits and vegetables are compelling—including lowered pesticide exposure and possibly improved nutrition. But buying organic can also be pricey. Luckily, Environmental Working Group has released its latest guide for safe produce purchasing, so you can make wise choices without busting your budget.

The Dirty Dozen

Steer clear of these types of conventionally grown produce, which tested high in pesticide residue. View full list.

1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Sweet bell peppers
4. Peaches
5. Strawberries

The Clean 15

These fruits and vegetables are less likely to be contaminated. Some are naturally more pest-resistant, and many have thick skins that are removed before eating. View full list.

1. Onions
2. Sweet corn (choose organic if you prefer to avoid GMOs)
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Cabbage

Also, don’t forget your farmer’s market. Here in Vermont, a study conducted by NOFA-VT determined that buying organic directly from growers is often cheaper than buying at the supermarket. Joining a farm share (CSA) can make organic produce even more affordable.

To learn more about the EWG study, visit


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