Summer is finally here! With summer comes the plethora of farmer’s markets, fresh produce, and some of our favorite fruits! What you may not be thinking of is what goes into that favorite slice of watermelon, or that juicy spring peach.
Traditional methods of farming use fertilizers, pesticides, and anti-mold sprays that are extremely toxic to the human system. We tend to forget that at the market when our eyes are feasting on a rainbow of colors and textures, but it’s important to always buy organic when you are able. Why? Because organic farmers use natural fertilizers and natural methods of farming to cultivate their produce.
Here are the basics of organic: the micronutrient content is higher, not as much damage is occurring due to synthesized chemicals. Organic regulations also ban the use of preservatives, artificial coloring, flavoring, MSG, and chemical additives. And, most importantly – the environment. We are living in a time where it is crucial to pay special care to our environment, and the pollution output is far less with organic.
When you shop for organic, look for the USDA seal of approval. Products must be at least 95% organic in order to be certified, that tiny seal ensures that it has been grown the way it was supposed to be. A lot of products pride themselves in being ‘all natural’, but that doesn’t mean they are grown naturally or without chemicals. The only way to know if something is truly organic is if the USDA states that it is organic.
Understandably, organic can be a little hard on the wallet, especially if you are shopping for an entire family, not just yourself. Growing little ones tend to eat more than we can possibly imagine, let alone keep up with! The EWG (The Environmental Working Group) has released an updated 2019 produce guide to tell you what is the most necessary to buy organic, and what produce contains less pesticides. These lists will save you time (and money! Yay!):
The EWG dirty dozen (+hot peppers):
- +Hot Peppers
The EWG clean fifteen:
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
Those lists should save you time and money the next time you head to a farmer’s market. Remember – there is no harm in asking how the fruit or veggies you intend to purchase were grown. You have the right, as a consumer, to this information and if it’s not organic? Well, if enough people ask, maybe they’ll consider changing their practice to a healthier one. Healthier for you, healthier for the environment.
For a cost effective and delivery option check out Imperfect Produce to see if they deliver in a city near you! They take what is considered to be ‘ugly’ produce, that would normally get thrown away, or produce that is overstocked, and bring it straight to your door. I personally don’t mind if the head of cabbage is the same size as mine, or if my apple is smaller than his buddies at the store. The prices are far lower than the grocery store, and you can choose your own selection every week, which makes it a lot easier to rotate fresh goods through your fridge.
Good luck and may you be as organic as you can!