Organic fruits and vegetables

I get asked about this everyone now and then…

Yep, I eat organic food. No, I’m not a dirty hippie. The food tastes better (which generally indicates better nutritional value!) and it isn’t covered in pesticide residue. I like my food better that way. And no, it doesn’t have to be expensive if you put some thought into where you’re buying your groceries.

I get a delivery of fresh organic fruit and vegetables every week for around $50 (puny Australian dollars), which lasts us (2 adults who rockclimb (high energy/food requirement) and/or overeat) 1-2 weeks – there’s some overlap, and we usually use up the excess when we have friends around for meals. I don’t buy all my food organic. I usually prefer to get mushrooms and avocados non-organic, as avos seem to be particularly expensive, and we use a heck of a lot of ‘shrooms! I buy most of my dry lentils and beans in bulk, and most of these aren’t organic, however soy beans grown in Australia are all organic (last time I checked! We’re lucky). My homemade soy milk is made from organic beans – I make it myself in a nifty little Chinese milk machine, which costs us about 25 cents per week in beans for as much milk as we need for cereal, tea, coffee, and other cooking. Tofu and tempeh is always organic, as far as our local stores/suppliers go, including Asian imports and locally made stuff. I buy organic canned baked beans when I can, simply because they taste better!… I’d say about 75%+ of my food at home is organic. The gluten-free flours I buy for making bread are half-organic, half-conventional. Sometimes we buy gluten-free breads from a local bakery, and their stuff is all organic.

Between cheap local markets, local stores, and delivery services, it’s no more expensive than when I bought conventional foods. The fresh produce also lasts much longer, and usually tastes a truckload better. I avoid buying organic produce and products from supermarkets and certain health food stores – it can be a rip off if you shop in those places (particularly in the big chain stores, I find). There are far better deals out there – usually involving local growers and small businesses that are worth supporting – they have the freshest produce, and there isn’t such a big transportation cost for you or the environment.

I have these lists stuck on my fridge door – I don’t know who to credit them to, but they seem to turn up everywhere. They are handy if you can’t buy all organic food every week.

The top foods you should buy organic because they have the greatest levels of pesticide residue – are (starting with the most contaminated):

1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Capsicum / Bell Peppers
4. Celery
5. Nectarines
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Pears
9. Grapes
10. Spinach
11. Lettuce
12. Potatoes

The top foods to buy conventional if you can’t get all organic food, eg. if you live out in the sticks and there are no decent or cheap suppliers in your area. The conventional foods with the least amount of pesticide residue are (starting with the cleanest):

1. Onions
2. Avocados
3. Sweet corn
4. Pineapple
5. Mangoes*
6. Asparagus
7. Sweet peas
8. Kiwi fruit*
9. Banana
10. Cabbage
11. Broccoli*
12. Papaya
[*Note: these foods taste loads better organic than conventional!]

So there you go. Make of it what you will. Organics aren’t for everyone. Personally I think the food tastes better and I felt health improvements, so it’s worth the little bit of extra thinking I had to put in when I made the switch. In conclusion: OMNOMNOM. Wholefoods rule. Eat well, be well, be awesome… and recover from wisdom teeth extraction procedures twice as fast as expected… w00!

Friendly tip: watch out for organic garlic… it can be pretty darn strong! Organic garlic breath can be pretty toxic, so use less garlic if you’re using organic!

pixel Organic fruits and vegetables
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  • Fiona

    Fuck yes re organic garlic. And people go ‘but it’s so expensive…..’ but you only need about a quarter as much.

    I don’t like the taste of organic baked beans.

  • reneeb

    The best organic baked beans I’ve had are “Whole Earth” from the UK. Very tasty. [] Harder to come by than some of the other brands… Siena organic baked beans are gross!

  • Mary Frances

    Please, please tell me more about this soy milk maker. We’re going thru a half gallon a day now that all three of us are drinking it. It’s costing us $3.26/day, which would be $97.80/month or 1/6 of the total grocery budget. $0.25 a week would be awesome!!!

  • Fiona

    I think Siena are the ones I’ve tried. *gag*

  • olivia


    Where do you order your fruit and veg from? Have you checked out Wray Organic at Windsor?

  • olivia

    And by Windsor I mean Newmarket.

  • reneeb

    I haven’t got around to going to Wray yet, but I must do that soon!

    I mostly use (they have best quality fresh produce + have some good vegan & gluten-free stuff):
    Previously I’ve used:
    & when I forget to put orders in, I go to these guys at the West End markets on Saturday morning:
    … or the organic markets at Windsor on Sunday mornings.

  • Kristy

    this list is great, do you mind if I copy it and put it on my blog to spread the word crediting you of course?

  • reneeb

    Sure, but no need to credit me. I didn’t compile it! :)

  • redjane

    HI- just stumbled across th eblog- thanks- and wanted to comment on the question about soymilk makers: I thought about getting one until a friend pointed out to me how much I rely on my other milks for what they offer in terms of fortification. I”m in Canada and here they’re fortified with D2 and B vitamins plus other EFA’s which wouldn’t be included in the milks if I made my own so I”d have to be sure i”m keeping up with all of that- just a thought.

  • reneeb

    Unless you don’t get a lot of sunlight, you don’t need vitamin D in your diet, as your body makes it in reaction to sunlight on the skin. Some milks are fortified with calcium and B12 in Australia. The calcium isn’t necessary as a good milk that isn’t overly processed will still contain plenty of calcium (ie. made from Whole Soy Beans – the Australian brand Sanitarium doesn’t use whole soy beans so has to replace what’s lost in processing with all sorts of additives… dumb!). B vitamins are very necessary in a diet, but if you eat vegies and fruit you shouldn’t need extra, aside from B12. When you make your own milk you can add B12 powder/crushed tablets to it easily enough. With my largely wholefood diet I don’t worry about B12, and my levels always test fine. All I do is add some ground-up tablets to milk occasionally and eat fortified nutritional yeast. Allegedly organic root vegies contain B12, but I don’t rely on that alone in case it’s removed through cooking or peeling.

  • Acai Berry Detox

    I’m always into discussions on anything organic, so this read made me feel at home.
    I’ll bookmark the site and subscribe to the feed!

  • Concerned

    With the soy in Australia you may not realise that most are genetically modified. If you have more facts or have a documented evidence that we are actually GM-free I would love to hear from you. Be wary as this has been hidden from the general public on purpose as now we are eating a lot of GM soy in our bread and other products. Have a look at how much soy is in normal ingredients and you can no longer buy bread without gm soy in it. This has only been done in the last year or two because they want to change our wheat to be gm and want the excuse “You have been eating GM soy in your bread for years without any side-effects”. For more information contact MADGE (mothers demystifying genetic engineering)

    8. Are non-GM soy foods and ingredients available in Australia and New Zealand?

    Not all soy-containing foods and food ingredients used in Australia and New Zealand are derived from genetically modified soybeans.

    Some companies use non-GM soy that is grown under an Identity Preservation (IP) system. This follows soy production from non-GM soybean seed, right through to the food manufacturer. Each element in the chain is documented with the whole system being independently audited.

    Since December 8, 2001, all GM ingredients within a food which contain novel DNA or protein, will be identified in the ingredient panel of the label, or on the front of the pack for single ingredient products such as soy beans. Some products carry what is known as a ‘negative’ label, indicating that their ingredients have been sourced from non-GM soybeans.

    Consumers interested in which soy products in the supermarket contain non-GM soy should check on the label of the particular product or alternatively contact the manufacturer directly.