Thursday, August 4, 2011

Buying organic

Well things are winding down in the vegie patch...I guess when you run away to holiday for 5 weeks you can't expect your garden to look after itself!  I also didn't plant much in preparation for Winter knowing that we'd be away for a lot of it.  So we took ourselves to CERES (one of my favourite places) for a bit of an organic vegie shop.

Buying organic can be a very expensive exercise and there is so much debate on whether or not it makes a difference to your health.  I'm certain that it does - I'm positive anyway that ingesting endless amounts of pesticide isn't good for you - and I like organic farming practices and how much kinder they are to the earth. 

I love foraging through farmers markets or looking in my CERES fair food box on weeks where I don't get time to go to market.  I've ordered from Organic Angels too - but really the best way to eat organic is to grow it yourself.  I'm looking forward to warmer weather so I can get right in with the planting!  My garden isn't very productive right now.  

My garden is looking like this at the moment:

Harvesting fennel for the first time!



Look at  lovely Mr Buzzy Bee with knees laden with pollen! Love seeing bees in Winter.

Not much of a harvest...

The Environmental Working Group has published their guide to the dozen fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue - and a list of the lowest.  Farmgirl shared a fantastic link referencing the same research here:

The Dirty Dozen, or list of twelve fruits/vegetables with highest pesticide residue are:

Apples, Celery, Strawberries, Peaches, Spinach, Nectarines, Grapes, Capsicum, Potatoes, Blueberries, Lettuce, Kale

Luckily we grow most of the 'dirty dozen' ourselves...although I never get a whiff of the strawberries between Master Bok (2) and the Bok Flock.  And I only grow kale for the chooks because I don't like the stuff myself!  Perhaps I'm cooking it wrong?  Same with brussel sprouts - I only grow them because they are so fascinating to watch develop, but I hate eating them!  <guilty>  I tend to just give them away!  

The research reveals that the vegetables and fruit that tend to have the lowest chemical residue or are the 'cleanest' are:

Onions, Sweet Corn, Pineapple, Avocado, Asparagus, Sweet peas, Mango, Eggplant, Cantaloupe (domestic), Kiwi, Cabbage, Watermelon, Sweet Potatoes, Grapefruit, Mushrooms

Some of the things on the list surprised me.  

I guess my bank balance will continue to look unhealthy and I'll have to keep working full time until our garden becomes more productive!  Until then I'll continue to buy organic where we can afford to.

Most of you probably only ever eat from your own gardens going on the amazing produce you display on your blogs...but for those of you whose gardens are less productive like you buy organic...?

p.s.  The girls seem happy in their new abode but the fox has been back...signs of digging each morning...argh!     


  1. I am a bit jealous you can get any production during the winter. Usually we are under feet of snow. So far I haven't grown enough for us to eat all year. I am working on it. Organic or non-organic? So often it comes down to price for my family. I hate to say it, but its reality. I hope that as I use less and less non-organic the few non-organics will be ok.

  2. Oh wow you harvested your florence fennel already. How do you prepare them? Did I saw some brussel sprouts there?Looks very cute. Wow you went away 5 weeks but your plants looks good.

  3. For me it is egg plant. I grow it because it is so pretty on the vine, but I give it away. Long to eat a banana ripened on its tree.

  4. I am also jealous that you have anything growing in your garden during the winter months. My garden will be under at least 3ft of snow! Sorry to hear that darn fox is back. I put shingles all along my coops and they gave up.Or maybe they just figured out there were no chickens inside of them. My dad still goes out back and pees there though, Since he belives that is what is keeping them

  5. Mrs B, is that an Australian study? Because I've always been told that here, the highest pesticide residue is in onions because of their very long growing time. Apples I knew were the highest in the US, but I didn't think that was the case here?

    We adore kale - the secret seems to be that you have to cut out the middle vein and then cook it for absolutely ages - the Italians double-cook it in fact. It's great because it doesn't wilt away to nothingness in a soup like spinach does. Brussel sprouts will eat those, not even the chickens!

  6. The Fennel is looking really great Mrs B! When did you plant it?

    I'm often dissapointed with organic produce. Often I feel its WAY over priced and not as fresh as it should be and I'd rather go without if the leaves are limp and the veggies are soft... Maybe I'm not shopping at the right markets!

    Hopefully the fox will learn that it can't get to your girls. It might be worth peeing in the garden and around the coop if youre game!

  7. I like this market. I do love organic items, although they don't make up my total produce purchase. We try to grow things ourselves, but I do love strawberries and we don't grow those!

  8. That fox is so naughty. I am sure it is just hungry and perhaps even feeding its off spring but it needs to learn you chickens are off the menu!
    I know what you mean about organic. we do not have a good supply near us so I try and make sure I always buy Australian and perferably local. We do not have a good balance in our vegie patch yet so although we have a bumper crop of snow peas, the rest are still too immature. I need to work on my timing.

  9. We do try and buy as much organic or spray free vegetables as possible. Going to farmers markets sure helps as you are cutting out the middle man, eating seasonally and super- duper fresh.

  10. Thanks for posting those best / worst was good to have a refresher. I try to buy most of our fruit and vegetables from local farmer's markets. The produce is cheaper and fresher, and I like that it doesn't all look picture perfect (it's real!). I do sometimes buy onions and potatoes at the supermarket though, to save time and weight when at the markets. Apples I've heard too many bad things about, so I'd have to be desperate to get them from a major store.

  11. It's still a debate indeed if buying organic does affect your health in the long term. But despite the sceptic in me, I think you can taste the difference, organic produce tends to taste much better :)

  12. I think I'll start buying my produce from the health food store. Thank you for the list.
    That fox makes me mad. I love the word chook. Yesterday the magpies descended, stealing a tomato or two. I now have a scarecrow!

  13. My sister buys the Ceres fruit and veggie boxes and she thinks they're fantastic. As well as growing a lot of my own, I top up at he Vic market every week in the Organic section. I love the whole experience of going to the market. We also use the organic butcher at the market. In the organic section of the Vic market they have pantry goods, dairy products, and even safe shampoos etc. We have also eliminated all the nasty cleaning chemicals from our home. I feel so much better for it.

  14. Forgot to mention... If you have an iPhone or iPad there is a free app called dirty dozen that is very handy to have with you at all times.

  15. Your vegetables look lovely! Long may they continue to grow!

    That organic farm looks lovely, the decoration is so original and beautiful!


  16. I buy organic when I can but we are quite isolated here - having said that, there is a little farm up the lane - a few miles away. Love it.
    Nice to meet you.
    Denise x

  17. The organic market looks fab! There's one down the road from me I've never been to, so now i'll have to make it a point to go. Kelli

  18. I love eating vege from our patch and will try to eat organic but it's not easy. K fo prefer to buy vege from the farmers market rather than the supermarket :)

  19. Ooo I just got excited about your fennel. It's lovely looking - I want mine to look like yours!!!

  20. I'm in the process of starting a similar enterprise to the CERES Fair Food box here on the Sunshine Coast. RE the cost, I've found in season organic food at our local organic store is cheaper than supermarket conventional food. A Food Connect customer in Brisbane did a comparison between their box of food and the same food from Woolies and found .77 cents difference between the two.

  21. You really have those wonderfully coloured toadstools in your veggie patch :)


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