I interrupt my fall field trip adventures to direct your attention to a really helpful article article in the latest Delicious Living magazine that discusses what products or product ingredients that you should buy organically if all possible. The article goes beyond the usual health reasons and explores the environmental reasons for buying organic as well
The 9 most important products to buy organically are milk, beef, apples, potatoes, ketchup, corn, soy, cotton, and berries. The author, Susan Enfield Esrey, decodes the politics of the organic milk purchase:
Whenever you buy organic milk, you’re casting a powerful vote to help transform an entire agricultural system. Organic cows eat organic feed and graze on pasture during the growing season. Voilá, you just reduced the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers on millions of acres of worldwide farmland dedicated to growing livestock feed.
Beef is in the same category:
Like organic dairy, buying organic beef helps change a whole system and an inefficient one at that. To add just 1 pound of cattle weight, it takes about 7 pounds of corn (according to the late food geographer Georg Borgstrom) and nearly 2,500 gallons of water, per a widely cited report from Sacramento’s Water Education Foundation. Eliminating pesticides—as well as overused antibiotics—from that equation is a smart beginning.
Berries, apples, and potatoes retain high levels of pesticide residues in or on the fruit; soy, corn, and cotton are major GMO crops and a major source of pesticide pollution. It’ll really make you think before buying a conventional apple again. (That is, if it doesn’t make you gag and/or infuriate you to imagine how greedy corporations are that they poison us for their profit, but aaaanyway.)
The best part is a short sidebar that you can cut out and take with you to the grocery store. You’ll learn the “Dirty Dozen” (highest level of pesticide residues) and the “Cleanest Twelve” (lowest), so that it’s easier to shop when you can’t buy organic everything (for cost or because they don’t carry an organic version of the product). Here they are for your reference:
Dirty Dozen (highest levels of pesticide residues)
Sweet bell peppers
Cleanest Twelve (lowest levels of pesticide residues)
Sweet corn (frozen)
Sweet peas (frozen)
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.