by Deb Keller
Why go organic? In a word, pesticides. The President’s Cancer Panel recommends avoiding pesticides to reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases. Another reason beyond your health, is the health of the planet since pesticides aren’t good for Mother Earth either.
The Dirty Dozen
The good news is that organic produce is becoming more and more price competitive. In fact, at Ava’s I have noted that organic is often very close in price and occasionally even cheaper than conventional. Today I checked russet potatoes, and organic and conventional are the same price.
But when there’s a significant spread in prices between organic and conventional, I hit the pause button.
A list called “the dirty dozen” can help us prioritize when we’re pausing to consider if the price is worth it. The USDA checks pesticides on conventionally grown produce once a year, and their data is then crunched by an organization called The Environmental Working Group, which publishes a list of the the dirty dozen for shoppers. It should be pointed out that produce is washed using high-pressure water systems before testing, so just thinking you can wash off pesticides isn’t going to work.
Topping the list as the dirtiest in 2012 is apples. The price for apples at Ava’s varies quite a bit, so it’s worthwhile to check these frequently. Ava’s had some delicious organic Jazz apples at $2.29/lb. (Jazz are kind of like Honey Crisp, my favorite.) There was also an organic apple called Autumn Glory that sold for just $.99/lb. Juan also now has some gigantic organic Fuji apples at just $1.39/lb. Compare this to the Farmer’s Market, which sells apples at $2.00/lb.
Peppers sit at #3, which is a bummer, because I really like ‘em, and they do tend to be pricier.
Blueberries almost always make "the dirty dozen." When organic are pricey, check out Natural Directions blueberries in the freezer case.
Blueberries sits at #9. Juan has recently been getting some very good organic blueberries from Chile, most recently selling at $6 for 3 6-oz packs (many fruits are coming from warmer climes this time of year). Also check out the Natural Directions blueberries in the freezer case. They are $5.49 for 12 oz so pretty much at what you get them on sale. And even though that’s pricier for frozen blueberries than at Trader Joe’s, they’re far superior in taste.
Surprising to me are potatoes at #10. As I noted above, Ava’s organic russet potatoes are the same price as conventional today. Ava’s also carries organic Yukon gold potatoes.
Kale makes the list at #11, and Ava’s organic kale is very competitive to commercial, and also with organic kale at the Farmer’s Market.