When to Buy Organic

I like to think most of us would like to buy local and organic foods 100 percent of the time, but it means paying extra, which a lot of us can't always do. A good compromise is choosing organic when it makes the most sense for our health.

Here's our recommendation on foods to buy organic whenever possible due to high pesticide contamination, as well as those foods you can opt for conventional to be kind to your pocket book. I would like to add that you should try to buy local produce too - it'll taste fresher and have traveled many fewer miles to reach you.

  • Apples - Buy organic: Lots of pesticides go into the growing of an apple to ward off insects and pests. Peeling the skin does get most of the pesticides off, but you lose the nutritious stuff too.
  • Avocados - Skip it: The thick skin of avocados keeps them safe from pesticides.
  • Celery - Buy organic: Celery has no protective skin and all the narrow strips in its stalks make it very hard to rid of pesticide residue.
  • Broccoli - Skip it: This veggie is grown with low amounts of pesticides, and studies agree that broccoli is OK to buy conventional if need be.
  • Meat and Dairy - Buy organic: It's just plain scary to consider the amount of hormones and antibiotics that go into raising an animal bred for meat and dairy - and what the animal eats gets passed on to you. Look for labels like grass fed, organic, free range, and hormone free when buying meat and dairy products.
  • Peas - Skip it: Peas are a safe choice thanks to their sweet little protector pods.
  • Peaches - Buy organic: Like apples, peaches are grown with tons of pesticides - the Environmental Working Group test showed 45 different pesticides present on the peaches they tested. The delicate and thin nature of a peach's skin makes it much harder to clean thoroughly.
  • Onions - Skip it: Since pests are not really attracted to onions, the vegetable is farmed with a low amount of pesticides.
  • Leafy Greens - Buy organic: Leafy greens like lettuces and spinach are candy for insects. As a result they are treated with high levels of very potent pesticides.
  • Asparagus - Skip it: Asparagus are a resilient bunch - not only do they need fewer pesticides than most veggies, they also have pesticide-fighting superpowers.
Related Content:

Organic Food No Healthier Than Conventional?
Healthy Eating Tip: Join a CSA
A Pesticide Produce Guide for Your Pocket