Understanding the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen

Understanding the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen

By David Whitney, Co-op Owner, Produce Buyer

At GreenTree our Product Policy requires our buyers to give strong preference to Certified Organic products (along with other attributes, including, but not limited to, locally-produced, non-GMO, etc.). Our goal is to maintain an unbiased balance of quality, value, and convenience. We do our best to source an ideal product for our shoppers. Sometimes, that means buying produce items that are not necessarily organic.

As much as I would like to buy all of my food organic, grass-fed, local, etc. it’s just not always possible.  Sometimes it’s the cost that stops me and other times it’s availability.  But either way, I’m always reminding myself to simply do the best that I can at any given time.

And unless you live on land with your own grass-fed crew of animals and a lovely acre (or two) of beautifully grown organic veggies, chances are you too have had to consume some hormones, pesticides, and who knows what else along your clean-eating journey.  It’s par for the course, and bound to happen, and when all is said and done – (in my opinion) eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.

In other words, your food doesn’t HAVE to be organic all of the time to be healthy and nutritious.

This handy-dandy resource is from EWG’s Shopper Guide is a super helpful guide for anyone trying to decide what and when to buy organic and when to let it go. It’s updated every year to take advantage of the latest information. The following lists are for 2019.

The Dirty Dozen – these are the 12 most contaminated conventional fruits and veggies and are best to buy organic (whenever you can).

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Potatoes

The Clean 15 – these are the fruits and veggies with the least contamination and a better bet when choosing conventionally grown produce.

  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Frozen Peas
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Eggplant
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbages
  • Cauliflower
  • Cantaloupe
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Honeydew Melons

With these lists in mind while responding to ever-changing conditions in the produce marketplace, GreenTree has recently brought in some conventionally-grown items from the “Clean 15” list, specifically: Avocados, Sweet Corn, Pineapples and Asparagus.  We chose these options after careful consideration. For example, with avocados an organic option either was not available from our vendors or availability was/is very limited and, subsequently, prices were very high.

The bottom line is this:

Be grateful for guides like this.  Use them to your advantage.  Eat your fruits and veggies and do the best you can.  If you can do all organic, great.  If you can’t, no worries.  Find a way to make eating clean work for you and be proud of the efforts you make.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *