I love fresh, juicy berries, don’t you? I eat frozen berries year-round in my protein shakes, but because there’s a short season for fresh berries, I savor them all summer long. Blueberries are my favorite, with raspberries a close second… but I love strawberries and blackberries, too. And berries are so good for you! They are nutrient dense, contain a broad range of antioxidants, boost brain power, promote heart health, are cancer protective, high in fiber, and low in sugar. So, what’s not to like?
For the second year in a row, strawberries were #1 on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen, a list of fruits and vegetables containing the highest levels of pesticides.
Some of the tested strawberry crops had 20 different types of pesticides, and even worse, strawberry growers often use poisonous gases to sterilize their fields before they plant! Of the 74 different pesticides strawberry growers use in various combinations, some are linked to cancer, hormone disruption, neurological problems, and reproductive and developmental damage.
The solution? Make sure that you don’t eat strawberries and other produce on The Dirty Dozen list unless you know that they are organic. Other fruits and vegetables that made the Dirty Dozen list are spinach, nectarines, grapes, and cherries. You can view the entire list here. Along with the Dirty Dozen you’ll find the Clean Fifteen, a list of 15 types of conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables that were found to be very low in pesticides.
I’ve been buying both fresh and frozen organic berries at Costco. They carry a variety of organic vegetables as well, and they are delicious and affordable. All of the produce at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage is organic, but if you’re shopping at Whole Foods, Sprouts, or anywhere else, read the signs carefully to make sure that the fruits and vegetables you’re buying are indeed organic. And if you’re eating in a restaurant and strawberries are on your plate, think twice about eating them. Chances are they were conventionally grown unless otherwise noted.
Enjoy your summer and delicious organic berries!