Organic foods have been found to be more nutritious than conventionally grown produce. This is probably due to the lack of chemicals sprayed on the organic produce that might leach/destroy some of the nutrients like antioxidants.
Many of us would argue that they taste better than their non-organic equivalents.
Is this more relevant for some of us?
I would argue it’s relevant for all of us but more so for small children, especially babies as their brains are still developing and they consume more food, pound for pound, than adults do. This is also the case if you are suffering from a health condition which is linked to, or aggravated by chemical intake.
In an ideal world, we might buy all organic, locally produced foods but this is not always feasible. Therefore what’s the most important foods we should prioritise when buying organic?
General rules of thumb for prioritising organic
I looked at the Pesticide Action Network (Europe) and EWG (Environmental Working Group in the US) that give us the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen lists (over time) to conlude the following:
- If you can peel it, there’s less likelihood of as much pesticides remaining, especially if it’s a thick peel like banana (schools of thought vary on this as some argue that pesticides etc used in non-organic farming are systemic).
- Fruits have generally more pesticides than vegetables; soft fruits tend to have higher levels again.
- Foods that grow above ground (ie. the leaves you eat).
- A larger surface area means more pesticides eg green leafy veg, grapes etc.
Fruit recorded as having the highest levels of chemical residues (over time):
- Dried fruit like cherries, figs etc
- Soft fruits like apricots, peaches & nectarines
Vegetables recorded as having the highest levels of chemical residues (over time):
- Sugar snap peas
- Leafy greens, including lettuce, herbs (especially coriander, dill, mint, basil)
- Others also add: Green beans, Leeks, Okra and Potatoes
Other foods like Soya beans and Cereals like Oats have higher levels of chemical residues than other conventional products. Unfortunately the above lists are not totally definitive as chemical residue levels vary from country to country, but I use them as a worthwhile guide.
In recent years, more organic food is available in many supermarkets but I'm just going to mention one Irish supplier that offers online ordering and FREE nationwide delivery: Beechlawn Organic Farm in County Galway. They offer locally grown fruit and veg and some imported produce to give a wider selection (they try to buy as close to home as possible). They also offer Irish and imported dried whole foods including flour and dried fruit.
They offer deliveries to your door to Dublin, Galway, Clare and Limerick and a number of towns in between with free delivery (minimum order €20). For other nationwide locations they deliver by courier.
They supply supermarkets as well as selling loose bulk veg to wholesalers, market traders, restaurants, smaller shops and box scheme owners. Here is a list of their stockists: http://beechlawnfarm.org/page/stockists-restaurants/
Many people view organic foods as more expensive than their counterparts but I did a quick price comparison for just two products and found these results:
|Product||Leading online supermarket||Beechlawn|
|Rice cake (unsalted) 100g||€2.05 (Bunalun)||€2.00|
|Wholemeal spelt Flour (1kg)||€4.29 (Doves Farm)||€3.60|
This shows that for some products, Beechlawn offer very favourable prices for comparable organic produce (all prices are accurate on 21/2/2019)
Beechlawn Organic Farm, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Plásóg na bhFeá, Béal Átha na Slua, Gaillimhe
Please note that I did not receive any gain from Beechlawn Organic Farm for writing this.