12 Organic or Pesticide-Free Foods Worth Buying (maybe)

2009-07-03T12:00:47+00:00 Food|

Organic and pesticide-free foods are not cheap. They can cost double the price of conventionally grown foods and can make you wonder if paying the price for fewer pesticides or better farming practices is worth it.

It’s hard to ignore the increased availability of organic food on the grocery shelves these days. Just walk into your local produce store to see that foods boasting the “organic” label are quickly taking over the shelves with bright marketing campaigns, pretty green logos, and fat price margins. So it’s fair to wonder if you get what you pay for considering the added premium for pesticide-free and organically grown foods. The answer isn’t simple. Sorry.

growing strawberries organic food

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has found that even after you vigorously wash certain fruits and vegetables, they still contain much higher levels of pesticide residue than others because they absorb and retain these chemicals. I’d love to know if using special produce cleansing soaps helps to remove these chemicals, but I’m no scientist and I doubt that an environmentally-friendly organic liquid soap can remove all pesticide residue.

So in some cases, if you’ve got some extra dollars in your pocket, it could make sense to opt for certain organic foods because their conventionally grown counterparts tend to be laden with pesticides, even after washing. Here are 12 fruits or vegetables worth buying to decrease your exposure to pesticides:

12 Organic Foods Worth Buying

  • Apples
  • Bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries

If you’re looking to save on your grocery bill, then consider passing on the organic versions of these 12 fruits and vegetables since they tend not to absorb or retain as many pesticide residues as other produce.

12 Organic Foods Not Worth Buying

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Peas
  • Pineapples

Knowing when to splurge on organic food and when to save on conventionally grown produce is an excellent (and simple) shopping tactic for staying on budget at the grocery store (shopping with the Printable Grocery Shopping List helps too!) Generally, in some cases, paying double for certain organic foods may be worth the added cost if you’re looking to limit your exposure to pesticides. In my case I always try my best to buy what’s local, in season, and pesticide-free.

Are you an organic food shopper?


  1. Rachel July 4, 2009 at 4:54 am

    I have to disagree with you about not buying organic corn. IMO, because corn is one of the most heavily genetically modified vegetables, theoretically only organic corn is not GMO’d. So buying corn that is not organic, not only would one get corn that is heavily sprayed with poison, but also GMO’d, the worst of all worlds.

  2. Chiot's Run July 4, 2009 at 6:46 am

    One good reason to grow your own! We harvested over 25 pounds of organic strawberries from our plot this spring, I saw them at the grocery store for $5/pound. I only spent $25 on my plants that spring so I think I’m way ahead already!

  3. Kerry July 4, 2009 at 7:05 am

    @Rachel I would buy organic corn too. The fruits and veggies chosen were based on the study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    @Chiots Run How many years have you been growing strawberries? We JUST planted some this year, so our yields are about 5 berries in total. 😀

  4. Sagan July 4, 2009 at 8:07 am

    Useful lists… I buy very few things organic but I do try. And I love buying local.

  5. Carla | Green and Chic July 4, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Living in California depending on where you shop, organic or pesticide free produce doesn’t cost much more than conventionally grown foods. For that reason, usually 100% of what I buy is organic. Every now than then, my significant other likes to buy bananas (I dont like them) so he usually buys the conventional ones. Thankfully I dont eat corn so I rarely have to worry about that.

  6. Meaghan July 4, 2009 at 11:43 am

    As a general rule, if you are going to eat the skin of the food (like apples, peaches, and strawberries) you should buy organic. If the skin or peel of the fruit or vegetable is thick and not something you eat (like pineapple, watermelon, or avocado) then it isn’t necessary to purchase organic.

  7. Tuimeltje July 5, 2009 at 1:52 am

    To me, it’s not just about what the pesticides might do to *my* body, but also what happens to the people and land more directly in contact with them. After reading a bit about Nemagon in Nicaragua and watching a LLink documentary* about it showing what damage it did to the people exposed to it and their children I now avoid buying non-organic bananas.

    *Available here, mostly Dutch and Spanish, but bits of English at times

  8. Charlie@PayLessForFood.com July 6, 2009 at 7:04 am

    This is also a great reason to support your local growers through local farmers markets. Fresh produce without all the pesticides.

    In addition, growing up in Western New York state my family would often visit pick-your-own farms where you could actually go into the fields and pick things like corn, apples, peaches, and strawberries.

    It was a lot of fun and allowed us to get cheap organic produce while supporting our local farmers.

  9. dava July 6, 2009 at 10:06 am

    A few months ago, I heard something on the radio about some scientists who did test the effectiveness of different products that were supposed to remove pesticides from fruits and veggies. The best thing, they said, was to use a vinegar/water spray and soft brush.

    If you don’t have time or space or inclination to grow your own and you have access to a Community Supported Agriculture program that is an easy and tasty way to get fresh, healthy, and often organic produce all season.

  10. dj July 10, 2009 at 4:16 am

    At pick your own farms they use pesticides…so be careful

  11. Jordan July 10, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    All of this seems based on an assumption that conventional food is virtually the same organic minus the pesticides. Of course this flies in the face of university research that’s shown organically are higher in vitamins and minerals. And another astute reader made the point about pesticides not harming you but maybe the people and the communities where they are applied.

    Finally buying conventionally grown food Ties into the whole oil dependence issue. FertiliZers, pesticides, tractor trailers, diesel fuel… You’re eating oil.

  12. […] 12 Organic or Pesticide-Free Foods Worth Buying (maybe)@ Squawkfox […]

  13. Amber July 14, 2009 at 6:36 am

    I found this interesting because the only organic fruits that I must buy are bananas and pineapples. Tropical fruits (I haven’t researched this but I’ve been told by friends that studied it) are not only covered in pesticides but also fungicides. I get really sick if I eat regular bananas or pineapples because of the massive amounts of fungicides used on both. I wonder if anyone else has these problems?

  14. Shaniqua September 17, 2009 at 7:59 am

    My husband gets sick from most, but not all, non-organic fruit and vegetables. We buy organic produce and packaged foods and eggs. He’s OK with non organic meat and milk products. It’s very expensive but we look for sales at Real Canadian Superstore and Shopper’s Drug Mart and stock up. As well, Costco has some O. items. Yes, it would be great to shop local, but our wallets say otherwise. We share a huge garden with my in-laws which includes a lot of fruit.
    BTW, Both the National Post and Globe and Mail recently had big stories saying the scientific evidence states organic food is not more nutritional. I don’t really care, as long as my husband stays healthy, we’re buying/growing organic. Besides, it tastes better than most out-of-season produce in the store shipped across the planet.

  15. […] out these great online resources:What’s the Difference Between Organic and Pesticide-Free?The Cost of Organic FoodEat Locally, Save Money on Organic GroceriesSafe Household CleanersUse Natural Bug Repellent to […]

  16. hmm May 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Don’t remember how I stumbled on this site, but great readings. One burning question though: every time there is distinction brought between organic and non organic, non-organic is called “CONVENTIONALLY grown”, should it not be the OTHER WAY AROUND? I mean conventional method used to be no pesticides, and no GMO crap. Now just because we are fed (with a little choice) with GMO and pesticide foods, the natural way of growing became UNCONVENTIONAL? When and HOW did it happened? Jeez, MONSANTO was so successful that it even brought change in our paradigm. May the human race get some help!!!


  17. beanz August 26, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Soak your fruits and veggies (even if organic) in 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide (1 tablespoon to one cup filtered water)for 5-10 minutes to thoroughly rid them of any pesticides. Distilled vinegar also rids fruits/veggies of pesticides etc. as well but not as effective as 35% peroxide. Be careful with the peroxide. If any gets on your skin, your skin will turn white although it goes away after several hours to a day depending on how much was there. Very powerful stuff!!!!!

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