The Dirty Dozen Gardening | 28 July 2016 Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Have you ever heard of the “Dirty Dozen”? Organic Farming tells you all about the types of produce that contain the most pesticide residue. Whether you switch to organic or decide to grow on your own, it’s important to know this list! Every year, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group analyzes USDA data on food pesticide residues and ranks foods on how much or little residue they contain. The group estimates that consumers can cut their pesticide exposure by eighty percent by switching to organics on these twelve foods alone. And while the USDA deems pesticide residue on our foods to be within safe limits, the government is, ahem, capable of mistakes now and then. So just to be sure: the latest Dirty Dozen. Grow these whenever you can, because they’re increasingly in demand—and pass the list on to your customers. 1. Apples still head the list, with more than forty different pesticides detected on them. Peel an apple, and you’re peeling away many of its most beneficial nutrients. 2. Celery ranks at the top in vegetables, having more than sixty different pesticides on it. Washing doesn’t help because it’s in the stalks. Tell your customers. 3. Cherry tomatoes are next, and for the life of me I don’t know why. Every year I grow them pesticide-free and never have a problem—with them or any other tomato for that matter. For cherry tomatoes, try ‘Sun Gold’. They’re thin skinned and split readily, so pick daily, and they alone will nail down your customer base. 4. Cucumbers contain some thirty-five pesticides, mostly on the skin. But is anything easier to grow or pick than these? 5. Grapes have more than thirty pesticides. You can grow them without these, and your farm stand or market booth will be flooded if you do. 6. Peppers, sweet and hot. Again, high pesticide residue, and I cannot imagine why. I mean, what eats pepper besides us? Jeez . . . . 7. Imported nectarines. Never mind these, you don’t grow them. 8. Peaches have sixty pesticides. 9. Potatoes contain some thirty-five pesticides, but my crops do fine with none. So will yours. I hill up with leaves or straw, not soil, and Colorado potato beetles go elsewhere because my potatoes get constant moisture, no stress. 10. Strawberries have heavy residue from fungicides. You’ll find you don’t need them in rich soil with good air circulation. 11. Spinach carries fifty pesticide residues in conventional agriculture. Why? Good grief, who are these people who do that? I sow spinach in the fall, again in spring. Then I pick it. You can’t IMAGINE how that looks and tastes. The only pests are my grandsons, who eat it raw. 12. Kale. Kale, I tell you. Why?! Okay, slugs, cabbageworms, and aphids. Something tells me we can hold our own against these. Kale is a farmers’ market staple, and ‘Red Russian’ kale is my favorite. Eliot Coleman, my friend and organic farm guru, says ‘Toscano’ kale is the best, but what does he know? Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: Organic Farming is the seed you need to get your organic farm growing. This essential guidebook explains everything you need to know to begin and maintain a healthy, productive, and profitable organic farm, from organic certification to planting crops to marketing your produce. If you’re thinking of starting an organic farm or making the transition to organics, you’re in good company. The market for organic food increases every year, as does the number of organic producers: in the past two decades, the number of organic farms and businesses has more than tripled. And whether you’re growing crops or raising animals, you’ll need some helpful advice as you get started. Organic Farming can help–its pages are full of inspiring and educational wisdom from author Peter V. Fossel, who has farmed organically for more than 25 years. Find out how to farm without pesticides, how to find your way through the rules and regulations surrounding organic certification, and how to develop a marketing strategy. A list of resources also points the way to other books, websites, and organizations that focus on organic farming, including state standards. Organic Farming is the ideal practical handbook to fulfilling your dreams. Don’t miss out on the book Mother Earth News named a Recommended Product for Wiser Living! Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.