Always Organic?

Is there a rule of thumb when buying produce...what if organic is not available...and you really need those tomatoes to make your marinara?


  • Mine is to go by the "dirty dozen" - the most laden with pesticides (strawberries, bell peppers, peaches, apples - find the list online). If I can't get these things organically grown, I'd rather skip them. Tomatoes are not on the list.

    Since organic farmers tend to work with the seasons, you're less likely to find out-of-season organic produce, but I try to remember that out-of-season produce is a luxury, not a necessity!

    Also, I'd rather get locally grown conventional over organic from another continent, usually, since food miles factor into the environmental equation. However, I do 90% of my food shopping at the farmers' market so it's all technically local.

  • pixxpixx Raw Newbie

    I do organic when possible. But if I really want something, and organic is not available, I don't let that keep me from getting some. I do try to keep that to a minimum, though. Especially with the bad list ("dirty dozen"), I have to really really want it, to get those.

    Suasoria~ you may want to start asking your "farmers" at the farmers' market where the produce was grown. I think you will be surprised (as was I) that sometimes they are selling shipped produce! Incredibly misleading!!

  • The farms I buy from are primarily in Ventura or Santa Barbara County and of course the Central Valley, which is aggie heaven. The farthest away are some of the fruit guys who come from around Fresno. (I'm in L.A.)

    Where do you live that they would ship produce to the FM? That's crazy.

  • pixxpixx Raw Newbie

    I'm in Virginia. I've asked at various farmer's markets, and fruit stands, and sometimes I'm told the produce was grown in other states. Usually just one or two over, but not what I'd call local. I've not come across any from outside the country, but then again, how do you know folks are telling the truth? Anybody can set up a stand at a market, and get their produce from anywhere.

    I'm sure where you are it probably isn't an issue. Great area for fresh fruits and veggies, I would imagine! Lucky you!

  • I'm in NJ and I go to this place that's called "Times Farmer's Market" well it's NOT a farmers market!! I now refer to it as my Bootleg veg store LOL The majority of the items are shipped in...chile, peru, and CA of course. I do like that they have a wide variety of fresh stuff...although only organic they have is i go to WF and wegmans for the organics I do get. Sadly I don't get everything organic due to financial restrictions.

    Where do I find that "dirty dozen" list? I never even heard that phrase before. Darn newbies..can't take us no where!!



  • What if you use VegiWash? Suppossed 'to remove pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, waxes, surface contaminants and oils from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables'.. ?

    I rarely buy Organic stuff as where I live it is so incredibly expensive.. Maybe raw eating for me is more poisonous than just regular, cooked vegan diet?

  • PamPam

    I have a pesticide load chart posted on my 'fridge. Don't remember the source but it rates produce by its pesticide load from 1 to 100. Referring to that chart, I classify things as ALWAYS buy organic (32-100), buy if AFFORDABLE (17-31), and buy CONVENTIONAL (1 to 16). All 43 item aren't listed here, but here are the things I buy most.

    The ALWAYS buy organic category includes: apples (100), peaches (96), bell pepper, celery, strawberries, cherries, lettuce and any type of leafy greens, and carrots. Slightly lower, but in this same category: cucumbers, oranges, raspberries, and cantaloupe.

    The buy organic if AFFORDABLE category includes: lemon, grapefruit, winter squash, sweet potatoes, watermelon, papaya, eggplant, broccoli, and cabbage.. If I just have to have these items and cannot find organic at a reasonable price, I may buy conventional.

    The CONVENTIONAL category includes: avocadoes (1), bananas (16), mango, pineapple, onions (1), and kiwi. Unless the organic is on sale or looks better than the conventional, I will typically just buy conventional.

    Tomatoes (30) and blueberries (24) are two items that I almost always buy organic if I can find decent ones. I am alo starting to prefer organic lemons since I use them whole in my green juice.

    I have the complete chart on my computer so if any wants it, just PM me (I think you can do that) and I'll send it to you.

  • Pam I would like that chart...dunno what PM is?? I'm PC challenged I tell you LOL

    you can send it directly to my email if you would Thanks so much



  • BluedolfinBluedolfin Raw Newbie

    glam~ I think pm=private message. This feature is not available on this site... yet... as far as I know.

  • PamPam

    Oops... didn't realize. I sent it already, though, so if you want to take down your email address, I got it!


  • PamPam

    Found the source for that list for anyone who wants it. Page down to see it and the table can be captured and pasted into a Word document for quick reference sheet.

  • Lindaaa, I am not sure if the washing products work. They certainly don't improve the taste - something I find is much better in organic produce.

    One of the principles of organic gardening is to feed the soil, not the plant. Conventional farming does not engage in any "soil stewardship" and soil will be depleted of nutrients over time - and that means the food grown in it will become less nutritious over time. I feel we're at the beginning of this trend, and in the last ten years, studies on nutrition are beginning to tip in favor of organics on nutritional value. If that's your primary concern, it's something to keep in mind.

  • Hi guys, I guess I'll have to do some research on my own, but do you know if that is a universal thing? Or is it just the US? Or is there some reason to believe the dirty dozen thing should apply to European countries as well?

    I know France does use pesticides, but I also know that they use way less than in the US. I get sick if I eat non organic when I visit the states, and that was when I wans't even eating organic here in France.

    I'm on it.

  • I have started using a veggie wash on apples and other heavily pesticide laden foods. it's really gross how much carnuba wax and pesticides come off of the non-organic apples. It's like a white run off and I have to soak the apples for about 20 minutes, and scrub them. By the time I get through them, I just want to peel the skin off and call it a day;-) I definitely prefer to buy organic apples when the cost permits.

  • Carnap - I think how much pesticides are used really does rely on regulations and standards of each country... It makes sense what you said about eating non-organic in the States!

  • Hahaha thanks Bluedolfin I was thinking WOW I don't think I have ever heard PM on here LOL but I am a bit PC challenged!!

    Thanks Pam...appreciate the link.

    Say anyone heard of Prill beads?? They are supposed "thin" water make it more useable and also heard that prilled water works very well for cleaning veggies and stuff. I'm not sure would love your input though.



  • I got this tip recently from an eco newsletter and thought I'd pass it along:

    What's the honest-to-goodness best way to wash your produce?

    The Bite

    Use water and white vinegar - no lie. A few squirts on your fruits and veggies gets rid of the nasty stuff (like pesticide residue) that you don't want - no store-bought washes necessary. Sincerely yours, Ideal Bite.

    The Benefits

    * Brushing bugs under the rug. A diluted vinegar rinse kills 98% of bacteria on produce - researchers found it works even better than a scrub brush.

    * Cash savings you can believe in. Water and vinegar rinses cost just pennies; the premade washes we found cost $4 and up.

    * It's a simple truth: Buying plastic bottles of produce wash means having to recycle them too (not to mention the energy and materials needed to make and ship them in the first place) - you'll still need to buy bottles of vinegar, but you'll buy fewer of them.

    Personally Speaking

    Some of us who happen to have white vinegar in our pantries actually have no idea how it got there. Now we've got a use for it

  • pixxpixx Raw Newbie

    Awesome. I've been doing this for years, never realizing that folks out there were suggesting it! I use vinegar to clean just about anything! Counters, mirrors, bathroom, etc as well as a produce wash. I keep a sprayer in the bathroom, and another at the kitchen sink. I use it undiluted, though, then rinse.

    I also keep another sprayer, with GSE diluted in water. I tend to alternate which I use.


  • I use GSE, but it is expensive here.

    I'll switch back to vinegar. But does it help with pesticide residue? I cannot always buy organic.

  • HellloooOOO abbreviation challenged too what's GSE?? Grape/grapefruit seed extract?!

  • pixxpixx Raw Newbie

    Yep, you got it!

    Grapefruit Seed Extract


  • thanks for the laugh glamazon! I loved your "helloooOOO"!

    I too get confused by acronyms and abbreviations - so thanks also for asking (and correctly guessing) what GSE is :)

  • LOL I'm just glad it didn't stand for Giant Slimmy Eggplant LOL hmmmm which reminds me I have not tried eggplant raw yet...I'm kinda scurred to.

  • pixxpixx Raw Newbie

    Ooooh, it's nasty!! (eggplant raw) I love it cooked, though. Ah well.

    Giant slimy eggplant. That's funny!

    Abbreviations in net-lingo confuse me often. You have no idea how long it took me to figure out glamazon's use of IDK. Haha, funny, once I realized it; {{thunk}} with a clue-by-four to the head. lol. But GSE often is labeled that way on the bottle, so... I used it.

    Giant slimy eggplant. I'm gonna laugh about that one for days.... lol.

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