Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Being Green: Buying Organic

In an attempt to make the most of my food budget and to buy the most healthy foods I did some research on buying organic. A great resource is Cindy Burke's book, "To Buy or not to Buy Organic." I will be honest about the fact that I skimmed her book this weekend. Burke's concise overview of the organic industry and her breakdown of what to buy organic clearly sets you up to change your shopping list. Her take-home points are the "Dirty Dozen" or things you should always buy organic and the "Clean Fifteen."

Dirty Dozen:
1. strawberries
2. red or green bell peppers
3. spinach
4. cherries
5. peaches
6. nectarines
7. celery
8. apples
9. pears
10. grapes
11. raspberries
12. potatoes

Clean Fifteen:
1. asparagus
2. avocados
3. bananas
4. blueberries
5. broccoli
6. cabbage
7. garlic
8. kiwi
9. mango
10. onions
11. papaya
12. pinapple
13. shelling peas
14. sweet corn
15. domestically grown watermellon

An interesting point Burke's book brings up is that the US imports "organic" produce from China and that there are no standards in place to regulate international claims on produce being "organic" (pg. 53-4). Even more surprising is that Whole Paycheck is one of the biggest buyers of "organic" produce from China. Most likely the produce is used in frozen or preprepared foods but the lack of regulation is scary.

photo credit: organic strawberries by oso

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