Sure, it would be great to eat only organic vegetables and fruit. But they tend to cost more than conventional produce, which makes that goal tough for most of us. What's a budget-conscious shopper to do? Some produce tends to contain more pesticides than others -- buy organic versions of those. Use this list, developed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit research organization, based in Washington, D.C., to make your choices:
Pick local whenever possible.
Look for fresh local produce at farmers markets. Many small farmers grow their fruit and vegetables without using pesticides, but they don't have full organic certification because obtaining it is costly and time-consuming. Ask the market staff for information about how the farm operates. Even if the produce is not organic, there are benefits to eating locally grown food. Some organic food travels hundreds or even thousands of miles to reach your plate, which burns large quantities of fossil fuels. Locally grown produce doesn't travel as far, and that's better for the environment -- and for you, since the food is fresher.
For more information on pesticide levels for other types of produce, visit the EWG at www.foodnews.org.
To find a farmers market near you, visit www.localharvest.org or www.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets for a list from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.