I was visiting a small farm near my hometown and the farmer told me that he uses pesticides on his plum trees. I asked him why and he told me that the return on his crop is too small without them. I find this troubling because, as a retired teacher farming for fun, he doesn’t need the income so why use the pesticides?

This got me thinking about products with the highest pesticide levels and which products are best to buy organic.

The 2011 “dirty dozen” list reflects testing data from the 2010 harvest. However, pesticide use is weather-dependent and often varies by farm, so the list may not wholly reflect the pesticide residue content of the products in your grocery store. Keeping this in mind, The Daily Green article “The New Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods to Eat Organic” by Dan Shapley, includes both fruits and vegetables cited in the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) current list as well as products that have made the “dirty dozen” list in the past.

Below is the New Dirty Dozen list (in reference to The Daily Green):

Apples: Once again topping the 2011 dirty dozen list: