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Help with organics

If you’re like me, shopping for organic produce can be hit or miss. It’s like remembering to take my reusable shopping bag into the grocery store. I’ve often wondered what I really should focus on buying organic. Grapes are an easy choice because that sulfuric scent on my fingers after washing regular grapes really disturbs me. But is it necessary to buy, say, organic oranges?

I’m a fan of ShopSmart magazine, published by Consumer Reports. It’s like a combination of its parent publication and Real Simple magazine -- easy to read, well designed and full of useful info. For example, the September issue of ShopSmart lists the best Shiraz labels (they happen to be good values, too), reduced-sugar yogurt that kids actually like (yay!), and advice on what documents to keep and what to toss -- and how long to keep them. And did you know that little sample of Cheesecake Factory original cheesecake that the lady at Sam’s hands you can set you back 50 calories?

But I was really happy to see advice on how to save on organic produce. They say one way to save is to limit organic purchases to fruits and veggies that have the most dangerous pesticide residues when grown conventionally.

The worst ones are below, in order of risk, based on a new analysis of government data by the nonprofit Organic Center. Produce with the lowest pesticide risk, they say, includes citrus fruits, bananas, pineapples and onions.

Riskiest fruits (buy these organic):

Imported grapes








Riskiest vegetables (buy these organic):

Green beans

Sweet bell peppers







This list refers to U.S. produce; some imported items have higher pesticide levels.