In an ideal world, all fruits and veggies would be organic. But today most conventional farms use synthetic pesticides to control bugs and weeds, and those chemicals end up in and on our fruits and vegetables—even after washing and peeling. Not so ideal.

Scientists continue to debate the health risks of consuming pesticides, but we prefer to play it safe. So we go organic whenever it’s available and our wallets can take the hit. That means we have to make smart choices. Enter the Environmental Working Group.

Every year, the EWG ranks pesticide contamination of the most popular fruits and vegetables. The produce with the least amount of pesticides is known as the Clean Fifteen. These foods are safe to eat conventionally. The 12 with the most pesticide residue become the Dirty Dozen. These guys should always be organic. 

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet bell peppers
  12. Potatoes
Travel IN: Farm to Fork Tour in Noble County

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

This is one of our go-to salads. It’s bright and flavorful and the pecans pack a protein-punch. Consider crumbling blue cheese over the top for a heartier meal.

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 ounces organic baby spinach (8 cups)
  • 1/2 pound organic strawberries, cut lengthwise into thick slices (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves (3 1/2 ounces), toasted and cooled

PREPARATION

1. Whisk together vinegar, a rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking well. Put spinach, strawberries, and pecans in a large bowl and toss with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat.

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