Most of the fresh fruits and veggies we eat here in the States contain some amount of residue from pesticides (up to 2/3rds of samples in a study by the Environmental Working Group had pesticide residue). Pesticide residue can potentially be harmful to your health, and while washing your produce before enjoying can remove most of the harmful stuff, this doesn't always hack it.
Rule of thumb
You don't have to buy organic if the fruit of vegetable has an outer layer (like a skin, peel, or shell) that you're going to remove before eating. You should strive to buy organically if you're going to be eating the item whole (skin and all).
To help, the Environmental Working Group has released two lists of produce--the "Dirty Dozen" (which has actually been upgraded for 14 items recently) are those you should try to buy organically when possible and the "Clean Fifteen" are those that tend to be okay to buy otherwise.
Dirty Dozen (+ 2)
- Bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas
- Hot peppers
Some lists also include blueberries, most lettuces and greens, and summer squash/zucchini
- Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet peas (frozen!)
Some lists also include broccoli, cauliflower, papayas, and honeydew melons
GO FORTH, AND BE HEALTHY!
SHARE with your friends and family that could use a refresher on organic produce!