Have you ever looked at that super red tomato the size of a grapefruit and said to yourself, “That just isn’t natural.”

Well, you would be right!  It is completely manufactured in response to today’s demands for more, bigger, and not necessarily better food.  Not only is this accomplished by poisoning our food with pesticides and chemicals, it renders it less nutritious and certainly less flavorful (great piece by NPR on this).

Two years ago I found the Environmental Working Group (EWG) while searching for safe sunscreens (that’s a whole other post).  I get their emails and one that came to me was the Dirty Dozen.  This is the list of the 12 most toxic foods that contain the highest levels of pesticides:

1AppleApples (including apple sauce and baby food!)
2CeleryCelery
3StrawberriesStrawberries (especially those from California!!!!)

4PeachesPeaches (again baby food!)
5SpinachSpinach
6NectarinesNectarines– imported
7GrapesGrapes – imported
8Red PepperSweet bell peppers See the link in strawberries)
9PotatoePotatoes (does not include sweet potatoes)
10BlueberriesBlueberries – domestic
11LettuceLettuce
12KaleKale/collard greens

I have always tried to feed my family as much organic food as possible but after reading this I make certain that I especially buy these things in organic.  If organic strawberries are not available, we don’t buy them.

I know we all try to save money when we shop, but one thing I will not compromise is my families health.  Pesticide use in our food is especially dangerous to growing bodies and has been linked to everything from headaches to cancer.  I will scrimp and save elsewhere!

Moms, we don’t all need to go to Whole Foods and spend a billion dollars on food.  Trader Joe’s has reasonably priced organic offerings and many mainstream supermarkets such as Stop & Shop have a fair amount of the dirty dozen in organic version.  You can also find a list of farms in CT that use organic practices (they may not be certified organic, but you can ask them if they use natural growing practices).   There are even some great Pick-Your-Own places that utilize safe farming practices (we are partial to High Hill Orchards in Meriden!).

Believe me, you forget what a strawberry tastes like until you have had one that is grown the way it should be!