How appetizing or safe are your fruits and veggies if farm workers wear hazmat suits to spray them before you buy them? Yes, organic farmers may use some pesticides, but they don’t use chemicals identified as health hazards. Many chemicals used on our produce are banned in Europe. So that’s why I like to keep up with the “Dirty Dozen” each year.

The Environmental Working Group

“Since 1993, the Environmental Working Group has shined a spotlight on outdated legislation, harmful agricultural practices and industry loopholes that pose a risk to our health and the health of our environment.” (Quote taken from the Environmental Working group website

Every year, the EWG posts a list of the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen.” These lists are a quick shoppers’ resource to help us decide what American grown produce carries the most or least pesticide load each year. Here’s the link for this year’s crop: with valuable added information.

For a quick peek of the 2023 Dirty Dozen.



Kale, Collards, Mustard greens






Bell and hot peppers



Green beans.

Scrub-a Dub-Dub

Even organic produce needs washing. You want to avoid food borne illnesses from those microscopic and larger critters that come along for the ride. Not to mention any chemicals on the surface.

Here’s a great link to how to wash your produce:

To give you another quickie (but don’t skip the link; there’s great information there), here are some suggestions.

Most of us first use running water, and that does work to eliminate some pesticides. If you have a salad spinner, fill it with your greens and water. Add a teaspoon of baking soda and mix well. Soak for 10 minutes, then swish, dump, rinse, and dry. Without a spinner, add the greens with water and baking soda to a bowl. Soak, drain, rinse and pat dry.


I like to add vinegar to the water in which I soak my veggies. A 10% solution of salt water also works.

If you can’t find organic produce

Fruits and veggies are still the best nutritional choice. Non-organic produce is still more healthy than a donut! Plants have plenty vitamins and minerals that we need, even protein!, so stick with as many plant based foods each day that you can fit into your weekly menu.

Meanwhile, enjoy the summer’s bounty!