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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!