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The Dirty Dozen

whole foods producephoto credit: miamism

Organic Smorganic is what my grandmother would have probably have said if you told her we now label foods. However she was the first to run to every market to buy what was fresh from the farm, so maybe she was just a lady a head of her time.

When Sarah was little her best friends mom was from California where everyone always seemed to care about fresh food and what they put in their bodies. Her friends mom’s brother owned a Grocery chain out there and she was the first person to introduce me to the “organic lifestyle” but that was almost 22 years ago and we only had one organic market in the area; then a second popped up, then Fresh Fields came to town to become Whole Foods, and then the grocery stores got hit with the bug and began to carry organic foods. Organic foods are harvested without pesticides and for some reason are more costly, actually I’m not sure why if they are grown in “pure” soil and meats don’t use hormones’, however that is another discussion, the fact is they are more costly but the question is does one need to pay the premium to buy everything organic?

After a bit of research I’m letting you know which you should spend the extra dollars on and which foods you can buy from the good old veggie/fruit section..

The Dirty Dozen:
These are the top 12 fruit-and-veggie offenders for pesticide residue.

1.    Peaches
2.    Apples
3.    Bell Peppers
4.    Celery
5.    Nectarines
6.    Strawberries
7.    Cherries
8.    Kale
9.    Lettuce
10.  Grapes (imported)
11.  Carrots
12.  Pears

Kitchen Tip: Since organic foods can be pricey, offset the cost by buying these fruits and veggies when they are “in season”.

Run ups:
Other veggies that ranked high are:

  • collard greens
  • spinach
  • potatoes.

Some Food for Thought:

Hit up your local farmers markets- often times smaller farms don’t have to use the same types or amounts of pesticides as large farms that service grocery stores. Talk to your local farmer at farm markets to find out how he or she uses pesticides.

Kitchen Tip: To decrease the amount of pesticide residue even further wash produce well before using.

This is just another reason to love local farmers markets. What do you splurge on?

About shelley

Shelley Kramm is the founder and editor of I'm Still Standing and The DC Ladies. Learn more about her and her inspirational family here and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and on

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  1. Can’t wait for our CSA to start up in June! That’s our splurge, but we prepaid it during the winter so it almost will feel like free food! LOL almost! :)

  2. Thank you for such this important information about 12 fruit-and-veggie offenders for pesticide residue, Shelley. Now we will know better! :)

  3. I love shopping at a farmer’s market. I can’t wait til they are in season here.

  4. I just bought some tomatoes today..they were rather shiny. I really liked your tips for buying vs not..I think we still have a ways to go for labeling.

  5. Very nice photo and great post! Thanks for sharing.

  6. This post is very helpful. I am just beginning to explore and educate myself around toxins and such! Great resources here, thanks!

  7. I can’t wait for the farmers’ markets to start up again here! Since I live on a plant-based, whole food diet I rely heavily on fresh fruits and veggies. Markets are like a playground for me. Thanks for a great reminder and great tips! I hope all is going well with your changes

  8. Wow. I have definitely picked the right things to grow in my garden. 10 of the 12 items are either already planted or scheduled to plant this spring. Yay for us!

  9. “What do you mean by ‘no spray’?” At different farmer’s market stands, you’re likely to see all sorts of claims regarding how the food is grown, chief among them being “no spray” or “spray free.” That sounds good in theory, since many environmentally conscious shoppers equate “spray” with chemical pesticide applications. But the truth is, there are a number or organic products farmers can spray that are nowhere near as damaging as chemical pesticides . These include things like seaweed or other plant-based materials, or organic pesticides developed from soil organisms. So if a farmer claims to not be spraying anything, ask him or her what she is doing to keep pests under control.