Economics of Organic Vegetables by Kerrie Beene CFP®

When to splurge on organic fruits and vegetables and when to opt for the regular option is a hard decision.  If money were not an issue, we could buy organic all the time. However, this can be a costly decision. There are multiple studies that show the price difference in organic vs. conventional grown fruits and vegetables.  The studies suggest that organic fruits and vegetables can range from 10-70% higher, depending on your location and type of fruit or vegetable you compare. Either way, the price is higher. So, when grocery shopping on a budget, how do we know which fruits and vegetables are worth splurging for the organic on?   

The Environmental Working Group puts out two lists called the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen.”  

The dirty dozen is a list of fruits and vegetables that contain the highest amount of pesticide residue.  It is recommended that if you are going to spend money on organic fruits or vegetables, that the dirty dozen is where you opt for the organic.  

The clean fifteen is a list of 15 fruits and vegetables that contain the fewest concentrations of pesticides, which the EWG believes are the safest foods to buy conventionally.  This list is where you can skip the extra cost of organic and just buy conventional fruit or vegetables.  

The lists are assembled based on data from tests recently conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as the USDA's Pesticide Testing Program and the Food and Drug Administration, according to EWG’s Website.   Listed below are the “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen.”

Dirty Dozen

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Kale

  4. Nectarines

  5. Apples

  6. Grapes

  7. Peaches

  8. Cherries

  9. Pears

  10. Tomatoes

  11. Celery

  12. Potatoes

Clean Fifteen

  1. Avocados 

  2. Sweet Corn

  3. Pineapple

  4. Sweet Peas Frozen

  5. Onions

  6. Papayas

  7. Eggplant

  8. Asparagus

  9. Kiwi

  10. Cabbage

  11. Cauliflower

  12. Cantaloupe

  13. Broccoli

  14. Mushrooms

  15. Honey Dew Melon

Happy shopping!!

And remember: A fruit or veggie on the dirty dozen is still better for you than junk food!