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Organic on a budget: Avoid the dirty dozen when buying produce, save money with the clean fifteen

Top tips for eating organic on a budget: Know which fruits and vegetables should always be organic and which produce is safe to buy conventionally grown.

Buying fruits and vegetables just got easier for Dallas area shoppers. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released their new report on produce containing the most or least amount of pesticides, and it is pretty shocking. Did you know that conventionally grown celery, for example, can contain as much as 67 different pesticides? No wonder celery heads the "dirty dozen" list of toxic fruits and vegetables, and Dallas celery lovers would be smart to stick to organic. Guacamole lovers, on the other hand, can save money by buying conventionally grown avocados. (For the best places to buy organic food on a budget in the Dallas Metroplex, see below.)

Pesticides have been linked to a number of diseases and other ailments, including cancer, ADHD and nervous system disorders. Long term research is lacking, but as the Environmental Working Group points out, when long term research is available 20 years from now, it may be too late. It is especially important for children to avoid exposure to pesticides.

Organic food can be more expensive than conventionally grown food, and not everybody can afford to buy organic products all the time. The key to buying organic food on a budget is knowing where to spend your money wisely. The "Dirty Dozen" list from the EWG lists the twelve fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides. Dallas area grocery shoppers can do the most good with a limited budget for organics by going organic when buying these dirty dozen fruits and vegetables:

The Dirty Dozen:

* Bell peppers, sweet
* Celery
* Cherries
* Blueberries
* Imported grapes
* Lettuce
* Nectarines
* Peaches
* Potatoes
* Spinach, kale and collard greens
* Strawberries

Luckily for the budget organic shopper, the EWG also provides a list of the Clean 15-- those fruits and veggies that generally contain less pesticides and harmful toxins. If you are grocery shopping on a budget, you can save money at the grocery store by skipping the organics and sticking to conventionally grown versions of the following fruits and veggies.

The Clean Fifteen

* Asparagus
* Avocados
* Cabbage
* Cantaloupe
* Eggplant
* Grapefruit
* Kiwi fruit
* Mango
* Onions
* Pineapples
* Sweet corn
* Sweet onions
* Sweet peas
* Sweet potatoes
* Watermelon

More tips for buying organic food on a budget:

If you want to make the most of your organic food budget when grocery shopping, keep the following in mind. Organic milk is definitely worth the money.  Locally produced "farmer pledged" milk is generally just as good as certified organic milk:  Organic certification costs money, and family dairy farmers are usually on a budget, too.  On the other hand, organic junk food is still junk food, so save your cash.

Organic on a budget: Where to buy organic produce in the Dallas Metroplex.

Buy it local! Shed #1 of the Dallas Farmers Market is a great place to buy locally grown and organic fruits and vegetables. Farmers market season is in full swing throughout the Dallas Metroplex, and many neighborhoods have local farmers markets, usually on Saturdays. Check out the Four Seasons Markets at Firewheel Town Center and at the southeast corner of Beltline Road and the Dallas North Tollway to find locally grown and organic produce at budget prices.

If your weekends are booked solid, Sprouts Farmers Markets and Walmart stores throughout the Dallas Metroplex are good sources of organic food at budget prices.

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  • Heather Buen 5 years ago

    I'd like to add one in the HEB area. Bedford Farmer's Market - they are open 7 days a week. I love the selection of produce - organic and not organic and they have great tamales, salsa, local Texas honey and granola.

    They are located on the web at

  • Deborah A. - South Florida Gardening Examiner 5 years ago

    I'm shocked that sweet potatoes are on the safe list, but potatoes are on the dangerous list. Oh well, I like sweet potatoes better anyway.

    A lot of these "safe" things, if you'll notice, are things you peel before eating. I always peel apples, because I read that all the chemicals are on the peel.

  • Cindy 5 years ago

    KK, glad to find you on Examiner. Loved the article and subscribed to your site.

  • Camille- Dallas Health & Beauty Examiner 5 years ago

    Good things to know! Thanks for researching this.

  • K K Thornton 5 years ago

    Thanks Heather! I don't get out that way as often as I used to, so it's good to have a resource in the area. :)

  • K K Thornton 5 years ago

    Deborah- You're right, and I was surprised, too. I think more people eat the peels on regular potatoes as opposed to sweet, and generally sweet potato/yam peels are thicker than regular spuds. Tomatoes aren't on either list, but I'd guess they're closer to the dirty dozen, especially given the high water content in tomato flesh. :)

  • Emylou Lewis 5 years ago

    :) Thanks!

    Third culture kids examiner
    Seattle stay-at-home moms examiner

  • John Myers 5 years ago

    Thanks KK!

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