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Buying Produce: The Organic Shopping Guide

We’ve put quite a few organic shopping guides together so that our customers can better navigate their way through thebuying-produce-organic-shopping-guide best organic foods and products.  One thing a lot people are wondering about specifically is buying produce.  What produce should you buy organically?  What produce is it okay for you to buy conventionally?  And where are the best places for buying produce that’s organic?

In our recent post Saving Money on Organic Foods: 10 Great Tips, Krissy briefly mentioned a couple of lists you may already be familiar with: the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen.  The “dirty dozen” refers to produce you should always buy organically. The reason these foods should be bought organically is because they have skins that we eat, and the skin is what’s exposed to pesticides and chemicals during the growing process.  The clean fifteen refers to produce that is okay to buy conventionally because the skin is not eaten therefore you’re not directly ingesting foods sprayed with chemicals.  In case you haven’t heard of these two lists, here they are:

The Dirty Dozen

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Cherry tomatoes
  4. Cucumber
  5. Grapes
  6. Hot peppers
  7. Nectarines (imported)
  8. Peaches
  9. Potatoes
  10. Spinach
  11. Strawberries
  12. Sweet bell peppers

The Clean Fifteen

  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocado
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Corn
  6. Eggplant
  7. Grapefruit
  8. Kiwi
  9. Mangoes
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Onions
  12. Papayas
  13. Pineapples
  14. Sweet peas (frozen)
  15. Sweet potatoes

Buying Produce Locally

Buying produce locally is not only good for the environment and local economy, but if you buy from a local farmers’ market or farm you can ask the farmer yourself about how they grew the produce.  Local foods are also usually less expensive than foods that have been shipped from one part of the country to another.

Buying Produce Seasonally

Organic frozen produce is often cheaper than fresh produce especially if it’s out of season when you buy it, but was in season when it was frozen.  You can also buy organic produce in bulk when it’s in season, freeze it, and use it when it’s out of season.

Growing Organic Produce

Start your own organic garden and start growing your favorite fruits and vegetables.  Not only will you save money on buying produce at the store, but you’ll know exactly what’s in the produce you’re serving to your family because you grew it yourself.  Buying organic garden seeds ensures that you’re not planting any GMO’s.

Other Tips & Tricks for Buying Produce:

  • Separate bananas once you get them home so that they age slower.
  • Avoid washing leafy greens or fruits until right before they’re ready to be eaten, this way they’ll last longer.
  • Repurpose leftovers and food waste.   There are so many things you can do with organic vegetables besides adding them to a meal.  Also you can use your own food waste to help fertilize your own organic garden.

Do you have any tips or tricks to buying produce that is organic and inexpensive?  Share them in the comments!

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