Extreme Couponing Tip: Organic Produce

“I want to try and feed my family more low pesticide produce options, but I don’t know if I can afford everything organic on our budget. Any tips?”

  • Pesticide Residue: To lower you & your family’s exposure to pesticide residue, eat conventional (non-organic) produce with the lowest pesticide residues (“The Clean 15″) and consider organic for those that traditionally have the most pesticides (“The Dirty Dozen”), as reported by the Environmental Working Group.

The Clean 15 (lowest residue amounts)

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

The Dirty Dozen (consider purchasing organic)

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes (imported)
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries (domestic)
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/ collard greens
  • Rinse it! When buying conventional produce, make sure to thoroughly rinse your purchases under running water to reduce pesticide residue deposits.
  • Farmer’s Markets: While shopping this summer and fall at farmer markets and roadside produce tents, keep an eye out for organic options, often at a fraction of the supermarket cost.
  • Local Farms: Check out nearby farms/orchards that grow their own organic produce. Often you can pick the fruit yourself at a great discount price (plus it’s a fun family activity!).
  • Set a budget: Establish a price limit at which you are comfortable paying for organic foods, whether it’s $1.50 or $1.99/ lb. or under, or less than twice the cost of conventional. This will depend on your area’s organic availability and your family budget.

If you can’t afford organic right now, that’s okay! When all is said and done, the health benefits of eating fresh produce outweigh possible risks.

Check out our post on How to Save on Produce for more!

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23 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing Tip: Organic Produce”

  1. Carmen Lopez says:

    You should thoroughly rinse ALL of your produce, organic or non.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://bit.ly/PennyOrder

  3. Reneear says:

    thank you so much for posting this- I am starting to look into this as I have Fibromyalgia and hope that getting rid of the most pesticides etc.. will help.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If you google Dr Oz pesticide spray he gives you a recipe you can use if you dont buy organic fruits and veggies.

  5. Disneyfreak2006 says:

    Be very careful when purchasing fresh. I am terrible at this and should purchase what I can eat within a few days. Do as the Japanese do, go get fresh produce daily. That way your produce doesn’t spoil before it is eaten.

  6. I have recently ramped up my dedication to organic and local foods. I let it slide in trying all this “extreme couponing” but I found that we were just eating more junk. I still am couponing for household items and the rare food items I will use. My rule of thumb is to try not to eat things that come out of a box/package. I now visit my Farmer’s Market every Saturday, and yes it does cost more than conventional produce from the grocery store, but there is NO COMPARISON. I have purchased some of the most delicious fruits and vegatables I have ever tasted in my life in the last couple of months! Here is some food for thought when it comes to purchasing organic foods…Think about what you pay for cable, internet, cell phones, eating out etc, etc… We “afford” the things we want. Period.

  7. Becky says:

    I always soak my produce that doesn’t get peeled in a veggie wash…FiiT makes a great product. Its based from grapefruit oil. Also, product that is eaten whole (apples, pears, etc) that have hard skins, I scrub with a vegatable brush under running water. It gets the chemicals off of it and any waxes. Its amazing how much better it tastes having done that!

  8. Becky says:

    I always soak my produce that doesn’t get peeled in a veggie wash…FiiT makes a great product. Its based from grapefruit oil. Also, product that is eaten whole (apples, pears, etc) that have hard skins, I scrub with a vegatable brush under running water. It gets the chemicals off of it and any waxes. Its amazing how much better it tastes having done that!

  9. Ashley says:

    Another great $ saving tip…grow your own! Then you know exactly what’s been used on it and you use no gas going to the grocery store to get it. We are blessed to have a nice yard, but not nice dirt, so effectively we don’t have a garden. Our solution….container gardening. Google it for more info, but you can have a decent garden even if all you have is a balcony (or like us, the only thing that survives in your yard is crabgrass =/).

  10. Robynne says:

    Hi all. . .I am currently in the UK, but soon returning home to California after 8 years. So excited to be able to coupon and save again, soon. . .food in the UK is EXPENSIVE and coupons are rare! I am surprised that this article doesn’t mention using a vegetable wash product like Fit Fruit and Vegetable Wash (though there might be other similar products available since I left the US!). Even organic produce gets covered in a thin film of wax, which seals in the ‘natural’ fertilizers and bacteria. . .so ‘rinsing’ or even washing in soapy water of either organic or regular produce (which is also covered in a thin layer of wax, trapping in the pesticides) is virtually pointless. Fit is natural, and dissolves the wax and pesticides and is antibacterial, so I use it constantly. If the fruit or vegetable has a low internal pesticide load (meaning the rubbish stays on the skin), then I don’t pay for organic, as Fit sorts most of the problem out. If the pesticides seep into the fruit or vegetable, I definitely plump for organic. But either way, I wash with Fit. Hope that helps!

  11. G Gibson says:

    We do a food co-op too. It’s the best way we’ve found to get affordable organic produce for our family. One that we like is Bountiful Baskets, it’s $26.50 for an organic basket. You always get at least 5 different types of fruits and 5 different types of veggies.

  12. Cherie says:

    My babys pediatrician told me that the food we feed our children is what has caused the growing problems with several childhood problems and said to not only make her food from the time she starts eating it but to make sure that its organic…. The more I have researched the more I find tht eating fresh fruits and veggies isn’t enough and doesn’t really outweight possible risks :( Which leaves us back to square one… how can we afford to buy only organic foods?? There really isn’t a cheaper way because it costs so much to grow, so the only option is to cut out spending somewhere else in your budget.

  13. Cherie says:

    My babys pediatrician told me that the food we feed our children is what has caused the growing problems with several childhood problems and said to not only make her food from the time she starts eating it but to make sure that its organic…. The more I have researched the more I find tht eating fresh fruits and veggies isn’t enough and doesn’t really outweight possible risks :( Which leaves us back to square one… how can we afford to buy only organic foods?? There really isn’t a cheaper way because it costs so much to grow, so the only option is to cut out spending somewhere else in your budget.

  14. Cherie says:

    My babys pediatrician told me that the food we feed our children is what has caused the growing problems with several childhood problems and said to not only make her food from the time she starts eating it but to make sure that its organic…. The more I have researched the more I find tht eating fresh fruits and veggies isn’t enough and doesn’t really outweight possible risks :( Which leaves us back to square one… how can we afford to buy only organic foods?? There really isn’t a cheaper way because it costs so much to grow, so the only option is to cut out spending somewhere else in your budget.

    • JennyLS says:

      Why don’t you grow your favorite, most expensive vegetables? My husband and I keep an organic garden in our very small city lot. We grow heirloom tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers and squash. We are welcomed with fresh produce every day. At the end of the season I go to my farm market and talk with the organic vendors and cut a deal to stock up. Many of them are happy to see me a crate of tomatoes, potatoes, carrots onions, etc.. to last me at least somewhat through the winter. Last year I ended up with 120lbs of product at the end of the season that cost me $53 (I live in Minneapolis, MN) I ran out of tomatoes first….but made it almost through the winter.

  15. Gwen654 says:

    Not my bell peppers! Awww

  16. guest says:

    I didnt think I was going to be able to use coupons for food as we eat about 80% Organic food. But I have been able to! If its not organic I make sure there is no dyes, high fructose corn syrup, Bleaches, Nitrates etc!

    WASHING fruit doesnt help to get the pesticides etc off. It is in the fertilizer & soil the fruit or vegi is grown in. So there is no way to get it off. But I defiently follow the Dirty Dozen rule…Espically when I first started using organic foods. Which we have been for 5 yrs now. When we go out to eat I feel so slugglish if we are eating out for multiple meals say as when we are on vacation….Your body feels the difference.
    It really helps that I coupon for snacks & Household,personal care items etc as I can afford to continue buying organic food. We buy all natural meat,,,No antibiotics or steroids etc…I get it for 2.00-2.49 lb for Lean beef if I buy it in bulk…..And many times the fruit & vegis we buy are the same price if I bought Non organic. I shop at a food Co Op. Lots of local items as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, according to reports, like a latest one in Food and Chemical Toxicology, reports that rubbing or swirling conventional produce in a colander under running tap water for at least 15 seconds reduces pesticide deposits by 30 percent.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, according to reports, like a latest one in Food and Chemical Toxicology, reports that rubbing or swirling conventional produce in a colander under running tap water for at least 15 seconds reduces pesticide deposits by 30 percent.

  17. Michelle says:

    Great List Thanks Krazy Coupon Lady.

    Fresh fruits and veggies are always going to be a better choice than processed foods. If you’re on a budget, it feels difficult to reach for something that’s more expensive — especially when you’re a savvy shopper. Organic often means more than just lest pesticides, though. It is believed that organic foods often have higher levels of nutrition – more bang for the buck if you would. Either way … a little better quality food would be good for each of us.

    We started adding in organics slowly, literally one item at a time starting with picking the things that we eat raw first. So the first thing that we converted to organic on was lettuce … once that became a staple in purchasing, we would add another. To pay for organic we do make some other sacrifices – we don’t eat out as often and we make sure our coupons are paying our way on other household purchases.

    If organic is something you want, just start slowly and add it in, inch by inch – everything’s a cinch.

  18. Cathy says:

    You might also look for a fruit/veg food co-op in your area. They can save lots of $$$!

  19. THANK you for posting that last sentence: “When all is said and done, the health benefits of eating fresh produce outweigh possible risks.”