One of the most common complaints I hear from clients is that they cannot afford to buy all organic produce because it is more expensive than their non-organic alternatives. So I stay up-to-date on the USDA regulations and the current produce that is plagued the most by pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Ironically, when you read through it, you see that things are sprayed more often to maintain their appearance and lengthen their shelf-life.
Currently, the top produce inundated with chemicals are:
1. Apples -apples are susceptible to being bruised and blemished during travel from the orchard to the store, so they are doused in chemicals to avoid becoming aesthetically unattractive
2. Potatoes - potatoes are sprayed multiple times during their growth and then once again when they are being shipped to avoid sprouting while on the shelf
3. Spinach - DDT, a nasty chemical long-since banned, is still in the ground and being soaked up by leafy greens like spinach
4. Kale - kale has lots of insects as enemies that destroy hoards of the crop at a time, so it is sprayed to protect it against such invasions.
5. Grapes - grapes are imported from the Southern Hemisphere and thus have a long trip to many of the grocery stores in your neighborhood, so they are saturated with fungicides
6. Cherries - cherries are vulnerable to bruising and since they do not have a protective peel and are a delicate fruit, they are heavily sprayed to protect them
7. Nectarines - peaches fuzz-free relative, are susceptible to scarring, so they are sprayed…much like many of its fruit friends
8. Peaches - hairy when compared to a nectarine, they are packed with pesticides that stick even more so with this fuzziness
9. Strawberries - delicate and blemish-ridden if not protected, they are sprayed to maintain their beautiful appearance
10. Blueberries - maggots and bagworms love this fruit, which makes it very necessary to protect it in order to save the crop
11. Celery - sprayed and sprayed...and since we eat it in its entirety, very dirty and unsafe
12. Bell Peppers - their shape enables it to hold on to pesticides through travel and into your home
13. Cucumbers - ever touch a cucumber and feel that waxy, plastic coating? It is not au natural. Buy organic and still peel the skin off before eating.