Buy Organic – Bee Smart and Save Money

Being healthy and green on a budget when you buy organic.

There are many reasons to buy organic produce and products. It’s better for the environment; not using pesticides leads to healthier soil, water, and wildlife. Buying organic supports local farmers and small organic farmers can earn a fairer price for produce compared to factory farming. Organic farmers are growing a wide variety of non-genetically modified (non-GMO) fruits and vegetables. Where factory farming has decreased our choices in the supermarket to one or two types of any produce variety, organic farmers are resurrecting many heirloom varieties and really isn’t more variety the spice of life!

The following list is based on information and studies by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Consumer Reports, and the Environmental Working Group.

  1. Nectarines – 97.3% of nectarines sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  2. Celery – 94.5% of celery sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  3. Pears – 94.4% of pears sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  4. Peaches – 93.7% of peaches sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  5. Apples – 91% of apples sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  6. Cherries – 91% of cherries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  7. Strawberries – 90% of strawberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  8. Imported Grapes – 86% of imported grapes (i.e. Chile) sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  9. Spinach – 83.4% of spinach sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  10. Potatoes – 79.3% of potatoes sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  11. Bell Peppers – 68% of bell peppers sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  12. Red Raspberries – 59% of red raspberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.

Why should you care about pesticides? The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood.

The following list is considered the “Clean 15” foods that had the lowest pesticide load, and consequently are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume from the standpoint of pesticide contamination:

  1. Onions
  2. Avocados
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapples
  5. Mangoes
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Cantaloupe (Domestic)
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet Potatoes
  15. Honeydew Melon

 Tips for buying organic food without breaking your budget:

  1. Venture to locations other than your supermarket: Don’t limit yourself to the organic food section at your local grocery store.  By paying for organic food at a standard grocery store, you may find yourself paying more money.   Check out local health food stores, specialty stores, co-ops, gourmet delis, farmers’ markets, and community-supported agriculture programs.  All items sold at farmer’s markets are FRESH.  Most are picked the same day that they are sold!  You can’t get better quality unless you create your own garden.
  2. Shop online: Great websites like and are online resources to buy quality organic goods without going over budget.   Online organic stores offer a range of items like vitamins, minerals, nutritional supplements, herbs, raw honey, apple cider and much more.  Free shipping deals may be available enabling you to save time and gas money!
  3. Grow your own: Veggies and fruits are two food groups that usually are the most expensive at the grocery store.  Check out and to get started on what’s needed to start your own veggie/fruit garden.  In the end it will end up saving you a bunch of money and allowing you to have true organic and fresh veggies and fruit.
  4. Don’t buy at the beginning of “in-season”: The best time to buy organic fruits and vegetables is at the peak of its growing season.  That’s when you will get the most bang for your buck!  A few weeks after a particular fruit/vegetable harvest season has kicked off will be typically the best time to buy.  Once those prices fall, load up on your favorite healthy organic fruit and veggies at dirt-cheap prices.
  5. Look for the USDA Organic Seal when food shopping.  There’s no point in paying more for a product that says “All Natural.” That tagline or any other variable are not worth paying extra money for.  Only pay for certified organic food. How can you tell what is “certified organic?” The label should say “USDA Organic.” This seal means your food has a minimum of 95% organic ingredients, which is healthier and worth the money.  Also, note that food labeled “made with organic ingredients” is usually made with 70% of organic ingredients, but it is not eligible for the USDA Seal because it is not considered fully organic.