A few weeks ago, I ran into the grocery store to pick up some fruits and veggies for the week and I couldn’t help but stare at this woman and her child munching on some grapes as they shopped. All of the hands that have been on those grapes, and yet it didn’t phase them. That led me to think about the produce that I’m getting. Is it truly safe for me? I always wash my fruits and veggies no matter what, but is that good enough?
Organic food is now a regular feature at any grocery store. I typically steer away from the organic foods because they are more expensive. However, I’ve recently started paying attention to my produce in particular. I had seen the little USDA sticker, but I didn’t know what all that entailed. So, I researched the difference between organic vs. conventionally grown and learned quite a lot.
The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Also, farmers who grow organic produce don’t use conventional methods to fertilize and control weeds.
Many factors influence the decision to choose organic food. Some people choose organic food because they prefer the taste. Yet others opt for organic because of concerns such as pesticides.
Conventional growers use synthetic pesticides to protect their crops from molds, insects and diseases. When farmers spray pesticides, this can leave residue on produce. Organic farmers use insect traps, careful crop selection (disease-resistant varieties), predator insects or beneficial microorganisms instead to control crop-damaging pests. When you buy organic food, you limit your exposure to these residues. Organic produce typically carries significantly fewer pesticide residues than does conventional produce.
The way I keep my produce on check is by remembering the Dirty Dozen.
It pays to spend a little more of these 12 items because you can rest assure knowing they are safe for you and your family. Plus, they taste sweeter and are more juicier because they aren’t soaked in nasty pesticides. Feel free to print this little guy out and stick it to your fridge so you can always remember.