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May 2014

Farmers Market—Does it Pay to Pick Organic?

A large study has revealed that when it comes to nutrients, there is not much difference between organic and conventional produce.  The exception is the mineral phosphorous, which is higher in organic produce along with some antioxidant compounds and possibly vitamin C.  Then why are more and more people buying organic?   There seems to be other health and environmental benefits to picking organic.

BEYOND NUTRITION

  • Impact on Mother Earth -  Organic farming uses 45% less energy and produces 40% less green house gas emission compared to conventional systems.  Evidence based studies show organic farming methods create healthy soils, yielding crops at least consistent with those using conventional methods.
  • Pesticides - 38% of conventional produce was shown to have residual traces of pesticides versus the 7% found in organic produce.  Choosing organic will reduce your pesticide exposure.
  • Organic Food Considerations - Organic produce does cost more.  There are valid reasons to choose organic beyond nutrients, however, it is what will best suit your budget. The bottom line is to be sure to eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables each day.  Ninety percent (90%) of the population falls short when it comes to produce consumption.  You may want to prioritize organic purchases and consider organic produce for the most contaminated fruits and vegetables.  Check  the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” charts to reduce pesticide exposure from produce. 

DIRTY DOZEN - Most Contaminated -Pays to Pick Organic

Nectarines (Imported)

Bell Peppers Sweet

Apples

Spinach

Blueberries (US)

Cucumbers

Peaches

Grapes

Strawberries

Lettuce

Celery

Potatoes

CLEAN FIFTEEN - Least Contaminated  -Less Important to buy organic, however may be GMO 

Asparagus

Cantaloupe(US)

Kiwi

Onions

Sweet Peas

Avocado

Eggplant

Mango

Pineapple

Sweet Potato

Cabbage

Grapefruit

Mushrooms

Sweet Corn

Watermelon

MEETING the ORGANIC STANDARD
There are strict guidelines to meet the organic standard. Produce must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers or sewer sludge fertilizers. They may not be grown from genetically engineered seeds and the produce cannot be irradiated.


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