Fruits, Vegetables and Pesticides…Oh My!

Healthy ProduceSummer is in full swing!  The temperatures are rising, the grill is getting more use than the oven and the local fruits and vegetables are plentiful.  In the summertime, many families tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.  The downside?  Many of the fruits and vegetables you get at the grocery store are loaded with chemicals and pesticides.

The Environmental Working Group (EVG) posted a list of 53 fruits and vegetables (in order of most to least pesticides).  They also have the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 which is a great tool because eating organic can be really expensive, especially if you have a family.  These lists allow you to evaluate which items are vital to buy organic (Dirty Dozen) and which you can skip (Clean 15).

In addition, here are some other ways you can cut down on pesticides while saving your wallet.

Buy Locally

One of the great things about summer is that local produce, which contains fewer chemicals than commercially grown, is more readily available.  Many communities organize farmer&;s markets and even some grocery stores will carry locally grown items.

Farmer&;s markets are a great way to expose yourself to all of the local items your community has to offer.  Many offer not only locally grown produce but also locally made cheese, dips, oils, spreads, honey, soaps and more.  I know in Rhode Island there is also a winter farmer&;s market done through Farm Fresh Rhode Island.  For Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts homeowners, Farm Fresh RI is a great resource for all things locally made and grown, including a list of all farmers markets.  Be sure to check out your local community calendars to see if your area has year round farmers markets as they are a great way to spend a few hours with the family!

Start your own vegetable garden

Grow Healthy ProduceCreating a vegetable garden can really add a nice touch to your backyard&;s atmosphere as well as save you money on buying produce.  Let&;s face it, fresh produce is expensive and by growing what you love to eat, you can cut down on your grocery bill while safely enjoying the food you love.

Have children?  They can help you plant the vegetables and watch them grow.  Watering the plants and harvesting the ripened fruits and vegetables can be a great way for them to help out.

Don&;t have room for an entire garden?  Consider growing some smaller vegetables in pots, like tomatoes.  If you need help on getting started you can check out how to create a vegetable garden.

Wash your Fruits and Vegetables

Think putting those fruits and vegetables under the running water is enough to clean them off?  Think again!  Using an equal parts mixture of vinegar and water, courtesy of Significantly Simple, will clean your produce naturally.

For soft skinned produce, soak the items in the mixture for 5 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.  For hard skinned produce, spray the cleaner onto the items and let sit for about 5 minutes.  Rinse well.  Feel free to post your own DIY Veggie Wash recipe below in our comments section.

How do you and your family cut down on your intake of pesticides and chemicals?  In what ways to you get your family involved in making greener choices? 

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