To buy the organic apples for, say, $2.34 per pound, or choose the conventional ones for $1.49? I've fought this internal debate on nearly every grocery trip of my adult life, and sometimes I frustratingly admit my wallet just won't allow for going 100% farm-fresh. Sure, research shows the benefits of organic food often outweigh the costs of non-organic over a lifetime, but 23-year-old me can’t always think that far into the future. Enter the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen,” — two lists of produce deemed the least and most safe according to their relative pesticides exposure — and the ultimate guide to sometimes buying organic.
Compiled by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the Dirty Dozen shows there can be some pretty scary stuff on that apple, while the Clean Fifteen demonstrates healthy eating doesn’t always have to be as expensive as it’s sometimes made out to be. Though co-ops and some CSAs can help cut costs, they don't help the fact that unless you're growing your own, you really don't know what's coming along with that tempting fruit or veggie. These lists make a bookmark-worthy cheat sheet for simplifying your shopping choices.
The Dirty Dozen (Better To Buy Organic)
sweet bell peppers
spinach, kale and collard greens
The Clean Fifteen (Save Money, Buy Conventional)