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Fruit & Veg: When did they become so complicated?

August 21, 2008

I’m back from my one day retreat.  Five of us regrouped and recharged before our semester starts next week.  Usually when we see each other we are stressed out and tired and it was nice to connect in a more relaxed manner.  We swam in a lake, ate cookies, and chatted half the night away.  Besides the hostess’s cat chewing my yarn in two while I was knitting, it was a an all around success.  Of course, I guess for the cat the yarn was a success too!

Back in the real world I spent a mad day dashing around, but did want to post about an article I recently perused in Vegetarian Times about organic produce.  This is the type of article I’ve read in about 5 different places which always has good information that seems very familiar, but which the specifics of I never remember when I’m at the grocery store.  I typically try to buy as much organic as I can, but sometimes I am torn, especially when, say, organic avocados are $1.50 each and traditional are 3 for a $1.00.  I stand there and think, “How bad is that 33 cent avocado?”  or rather, “How much better for my family is that $1.50 avocado?”.  Then I read articles such as these where they tell me it is perfectly ok to buy that 33 cent avocado because they have thick skins and low pesticide residues.  But will I remember that in the store next time?  

Probably not.  I started thinking about the handy-dandy wallet guide for making smart seafood choices that I’d picked up at the Monterey Bay Aquarium last year (it is available online as well and I believe updated often).  I considered making myself my own wallet sized pesticide level list for my own grocery shopping, but first I Googled.  

As with most things, other, smarter people than I, have already done this!  I am so excited about my finds I thought I would share some of these links. Stonyfield’s has a printable wallet-sized Pesticide Guide.  I found another printable purse-sized to take to the store here and there is a very deluxe wallet version that also takes into consideration of domestic vs. imported veggies & fruit at The Organic Center website (I found this one through link that discusses this issue in length). 

Thinking about grocery shopping, also got me thinking about grocery bags.  Before I set about creating my own grocery bag pattern and tutorial I googled again.  Lo and behold, more links to share!  I found a great tutorial for making your own grocery shopping bag at wisdomofthemoon–out of used sheets nonetheless– but I especially loved her tutorial for making produce bags!  Like one of her commentors, I usually throw my produce in the cart sans bag because I don’t want to use the plastic bag, only to have either small or skinny produce slip through the cart, or the checker or bagger put it into a plastic bag anyway!

Now I’ve got some printing to do (one I figure out which guide I like best) and some sewing!  Those produce bags are just the thing for the bolt of tulle I took from somebody 5 years ago that I haven’t used yet!

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 22, 2008 1:47 am

    Thank you so much for mentioning the Organic Essentials Pocket Guide, published by The Organic Center in your jessBcuz blog. We appreciate that you cover important topics around food, health, social responsibility, healthy living, and the environment.

    Our mission is to advance peer-reviewed, verifiable scientific research and information behind the human health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming–and to communicate those benefits to society.

    Among Our Key Findings
    • Nutrition – “Average levels of 11 key nutrients are 25% higher in organic foods compared to conventional foods, based on 236 scientifically valid comparisons.” Source: New Evidence Confirms the Nutritional Superiority of Plant-based Organic Foods, State of Science Review, March 2008.
    • Antioxidants – “Eating organic produce and organic processed fruits and vegetables will increase your antioxidant intake by about 30 percent over conventionally grown produce.” Source: Elevating Antioxidant Levels in Food through Organic Farming and Food Processing, State of Science Review, January 2005.
    • Taste – “Organic produce is often judged tastier…than conventional produce. Organic apples store better and are tastier than conventional apples.” Source: “Do Organic Fruits and Vegetables Taste Better than Conventional Fruits and Vegetables, State of Science Review, December 2006.
    • Pesticides – “The average child in America is exposed to five pesticides daily in their food and drinking water. In fact, switching to an organic diet for just five days virtually eliminates any sign of exposure to organophosphate insecticides among school-age children.” Source: Successes and Lost Opportunities to Reduce Children’s Exposure to Pesticides Since the Mid-1990s,” Critical Issues Report, August 2006.
    • Energy – “Organic corn production requires 30 percent less energy per bushel harvested, compared to conventional agriculture.” Source: Impacts of Organic Farming on the Efficiency of Energy Use in Agriculture, State of Science Review, September 2006.

    Information Resources Available
    • Download all of our scientific studies at no cost at
    • Subscribe to our free e-newsletter, The Scoop, a monthly digest of the latest global organic research. Sign up at
    • Read Core Truths, an illustrated coffee-table book and compendium of research conducted by the Center.
    • Download a free Pocket Guide, Organic Essentials, to learn how to reduce dietary exposure to toxic pesticides.
    • View our new educational video, Serious Science, Serious Benefits, at
    • Visit our new weblog at

    Why Support The Organic Center?
    As a nonprofit, tax-deductible 501c3 organization, we rely on the financial support of individuals, businesses and foundations. As such, we appeal to you for your financial contribution. To make a donation, please visit, or contact The Organic Center at tel 303.499.1840.

    Become a friend of The Organic Center! Donate $100 and receive a free Core Truths book!

    Thank you again and yours in health,

    Steve Hoffman
    Managing Director
    The Organic Center

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