Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Dirty Dozen

As I write, I'm listening to a thunderstorm outside. It sounds like it might be a pretty big one, but after several months of drought here in North Carolina, I'm grateful for the rain. And thanks to the Spring rains, we're now finding a bounty of beautiful, and delicious, veggies at our local farmer's market. I would strongly encourage all of you to spend some time finding and going to a farmer's market near you. You can find farmer's markets in your area by checking out the Local Harvest website.

We have also been CSA members for the past 2 seasons. (You can find out more information about CSA's in your area on the Local Harvest website as well.) When you join a CSA, you essentially join a local farm. You pay for a season's worth of veggies (approximately April/ May through October/ November.) Then, each week, you pick up a box of delicious, organic, local produce that will feed your family, and you can freeze and save any extras for the winter. Yum! We have used Tantre Farm in Ann Arbor, MI and Timberwood Organics in Chapel Hill, NC both are great!

Pound for pound, kids eat a lot more than adults. So, to keep our kids healthy and to minimize their exposure to pesticides (which can cause cancer, are neurotoxins, and may have other health effects that we don't yet know about), it's best to feed them tons of ORGANIC fruits and veggies. Plus, by feeding our kids organics, we also help to protect the health of farm workers, and the soil and water environments of the farm and the local community. But, sometimes, organic fruits and veggies are more expensive. To keep your family budget in check, get your organic produce at local farmer's markets, and when you have to choose which fruits and veggies to buy organic, prioritize "The Dirty Dozen." These 12 fruits and veggies have the highest pesticide load when grown conventionally. So, if you have to pick and choose what to buy organic, chose these... Peaches, Apples, Sweet Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Lettuce, Grapes, Pears, Spinach, and Potatoes.

Conversely, the fruits and veggies that are the "Cleanest" (lowest in pesticide load) are Onions, Avocadoes, Frozen Sweet Corn, Pineapples, Mangoes, Frozen Sweet Peas, Asparagus, Kiwis, Bananas, Cabbage, Broccoli, and Eggplant. So, those are OK to eat even if conventionally grown. (Source:

Mark your calendars to poke around your local farmer's market this week, and make a list of "The Dirty Dozen" to take with you on your local shopping trip. And, hey, green mamas... don't forget your re-useable grocery bag!

Have a great week green mamas!


The Green Room said...

I'm in California and it seems that we're threatened with a drought here as well. In fact the crazy climate change has taken us from 57 degrees earlier this week to almost 100 degrees expected this weekend! These crazy weather patterns around us remind us that global climate change is occurring whether people choose to believe it or not.
The ridiculous prices that we see placed on our fruits and vegetables at our local grocery stores are likely to become the norm when failed or poor crop seasons are compounded by the problem we face with of high gas prices.
Solution: ABSOLUTELY go to your local farmer’s market! By doing so we’ll help out in various ways.
It’s cheaper! It’s healthier; and is good for the environment.
Shopping at local farmer’s markets supports local businesses traveling locally rather than supporting those using hundreds of gallons of fuel, creating a higher volume of CO2 emissions.
Also, purchasing organic products reduces the amount of carcinogenic ingredients consumed by our families!

maria smith said...

I can't always afford to purchase organic, but I've been using a green cleaning method of soaking most produce, especially apples, strawberries, tomatoes, in a solution of one part vinegar and three parts water. At least it removes most of the toxins.