Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without relying on chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Organic growing practices protect the ecosystem, the health of those who work the land, and the long-term well-being of customers who eat the crops. Specifically, organic crops are grown in the following ways:
Any certified organic plant product must come from fields that have remained free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for at least three years, and must follow regulations outlined above. Foods grown on lands not yet meeting organic standards may receive a "transitional" label if they follow the strict requirements for conversion.
Although organic produce is grown without chemicals, pesticide residue can drift from conventional farms, as well as contaminated soil. Fortunately, properly washing produce can help eliminate most pesticide residue. Follow these tips when cleaning produce:
Organic agriculture is not subsidized to the same extent as conventional agriculture, and organic practices, such as hand weeding, are often labor-intensive, and therefore more expensive. Because organic farms and industry are generally small, they cannot take advantage of economies of scale. Organic agriculture utilizes conservation practices that protect soil, water, and air; while they do cost more, those who employ and support these practices view the extra cost as an investment in the future.
For those who are trying to avoid exposure to chemical residue, you can drastically lower your pesticide exposure by eating the conventially produced fruits and vegetables that tend to have the least contamination: asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapples, and peas.