Welcome to Green Questions, Groovy Answers-your opportunity to get your pressing green questions answered each week. This week’s question comes from a Groovy Green Livin reader, Suzanne in Memphis, TN. Thanks Suzanne!
Does eating organic strawberries really matter?
There is nothing like the summer months when supermarkets are filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. Local farmers markets are just beginning to open up their tables, offering an abundance of fresh produce. When we shop for produce we have many choices -one of the most difficult being whether to invest our hard earned dollars on fruits and veggies that have been organically grown. While buying organic is always the better option, it is impossible and cost prohibitive to buy everything organic.
Strawberries are a favorite fruit in our house. My youngest son and I devour them by the handful. We use them for smoothies, in our lunch boxes and as a healthy after school snack. Buying organic strawberries can be very expensive. Last time I went to the market it was close to $5.00 for a small container, while the conventional counterpart was much less costly.
Is it worth it to invest in organic strawberries? The short answer is YES.
Research suggests that organic strawberries are the way to go
Researchers at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group created the Shoppers Guide to Pesticides to help us determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. We can lower our pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables (The Dirty Dozen) and eating the least contaminated produce (Clean 15).
Strawberries are number 3 on the list of most contaminated fruits
In in a study led by Washington State University, the results found: organic strawberries are healthier, tastier, and better for the soil than conventional strawberries. Conventional strawberries are contaminated by all sorts of pesticides and toxic chemicals and have consistently been high on the most contaminated list. If you have the option, organic strawberries are the way to go.
Where can I buy organic strawberries?
Check your local farmer’s markets and supermarkets for local organic strawberry options. There are times when organic strawberries will make a guest appearance in my CSA box. If you would like to find a local CSA in your neck of the woods take a look at LocalHarvest.
How can I pick my own strawberries?
There’s nothing like picking your own fresh strawberries from a local farm or better yet from your own garden. When you pick your own you know exactly where the strawberries came from and if picking at a local farm you have the unique opportunity to ask the farmer questions if you’re concerned about which pesticides were used (if any) to help them grow.
If you want to find a local farm stand near you to pick your own strawberries PickYourOwn.org enables you to find the closest pick-your-own farms throughout the world. The site is simple to use. Locate your state or country and a handy list pops up. Look for the farms highlighted in green -those are the organic farms. The site also has a link to canning and preserving directions as well as picking tips.
Do you buy organic strawberries? Do you pick your own?
[Photo used under Creative Commons from Ewan Traveler/Flickr]