Conventional v.s. Organic Produce

Make budget friendly decisions in line with your health.


By Kelsey Marcus


Do you wonder about the various options between organic and conventional produce when budgeting?

Chronic pesticide usage has been associated with producing significant negative health effects on consumers and field workers as well as affecting wildlife and the environment. Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases  lists of produce for their “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” based on research findings by the United States Department of Agriculture. Fruits, such as apples, peaches, blueberries and strawberries, typically make it onto the “Dirty” list whereas more thick-skinned produce (avocados, pineapples, onions, etc.) are often on the “Clean” list. 

Many people are now looking to eat more organic foods for healthier, cleaner meals. In a perfect world, we would be able to eat organic all the time. However, buying organic can quickly become expensive and unfortunately, it isn’t always an economically feasible option for everyone. 

Whether you splurge on organic produce or need to mind costs and buy cheap produce, here are some things to consider: 

How Thick is the Outer Skin?

While certain types of pesticides are present throughout, produce with thick outer skin makes it more difficult for spray pesticide residues to get into the actual meat itself. Examples of this include bananas, avocados, and pineapples. If the fruit doesn’t have a thick skin, such as apples, consider peeling the fruit to help reduce some of the residue exposure. 

Eating it Raw?

Consider if you plan on eating the fruit raw or cooked. While not as effective as washing or peeling, cooking (such as boiling, roasting or baking) can help reduce pesticide residues. The good news? Peel and slice those apples (or any of your other favorite fruits) and you'll have a great excuse to make a pie!

Want Some Leafy Greens?

For leafy greens, especially if you are eating them raw, such as in a salad, this is an area where you should splurge and opt for organic. Because of their thin skin, you can’t peel or thoroughly scrub leafy greens, which makes it difficult to rid them of pesticides. 

Finally, whether you buy organic or not, make sure to wash your produce! Washing and/or soaking can help remove residue not to mention clean off any dirt or debris that has gotten on the fruits or veggies due to harvesting, shipping, and any other handling.

Kelsey is the creative mind behind A Little Rosemary and Time. Located in Brooklyn, NY, she is a self-proclaimed “foodie”, workout addict and loves learning as much about food and nutrition as she can. She is currently working towards becoming a registered dietician and is passionate about being able to help others towards better health both mentally and physically.

May 16, 2015

A lot of this is scare tactics. Don't be scared of fruit and veggies. Any kind of fruit and veggies.

May 16, 2015

I giggled when I read the suggestion to make a pie to make the fruit healthier 😂😂😂