Organic vs. Nonorganic: What Fruits and Veggies Should You Buy?

VIDEO: Wendy Gordon explains which fruits and veggies are best when grown
WATCH Organic Foods: When Are They Advantageous?

We all know that pesticides and other chemicals can cling to the foods we eat and most of us want to minimize our exposure. That's why some people buy organic.

Scientists have shown that children age 5 and under ingest an average of eight pesticides each day. And young children, whose internal organs and systems are developing rapidly, are particularly vulnerable to pesticides' harmful effects.

Organic Is Better Because:

Studies have linked pesticide exposure to cancers, neurological damage as well as birth defects and even possible early onset of Parkinson's.

Choosing fresh, organic ingredients you'll not only lower the amounts of toxic pesticides in your body, but also halves your levels of bisphenol A and phthalates, both of which can alter your hormones.

Supporting organic farmers reduces the amount of pesticides, such as atrazine, that enter our waterways where they harm aquatic life and end up in our drinking water supplies.

Sustaining and helping organic farms grow also provides habitats for many more species than conventional agriculture. Among those animals that benefit are song birds, which thrive on insects found in organic fields.

Organic agriculture also helps fight global warming: Organic agriculture can bind 1,000 lbs of carbon per acre, whereas conventional agriculture increases carbon in the atmosphere.

5 Foods You Need To Buy Organic:

The best foods to buy organic are apples, bell peppers, carrots, celery and strawberries.

Nonorganic Seasonal Options:

While there are many reasons to buy organic foods not everyone can find fresh organic produce at their corner store, or afford the premium price tags, so it's important to remember that there are some smart shopping decisions we can make that will help us save money while also reducing the pesticides on our plates.

Organic is not the only option for people that want to reduce the amount of pesticides they consume. There are fruits and vegetables that are known for having very low pesticide residues.

5 Foods You Don't Need To Buy Organic:


Spring favorites like asparagus, avocado, sweet peas, grapefruit, onions and cabbage

Year Round

The five cleanest fruits and veggies are onions, avocado, sweet corn, pineapple and mango.

Other steps you can take to keep pesticides off your plate include always washing and peeling your produce, steam cooking leafy greens, and using the frozen organic version a try when the produce you want isn't available fresh.


Organic foods can cost more than non-organic, sometimes 40 to 50 percent more. Below are the Fresh Direct prices for 1 piece of produce.

Food Organic Price Conventional
Asparagus $4.99 $2.99
Avocado $2.99 $1.99
Sweet Peas $1.59 $1.59
Grapefruit $2.49 $0.89
Onions (Y) $1.29 $0.99
Sweet Corn $2.89 $1.69
Pineapple $5.99 $3.99
Mango (no organic option) $1.99

Note some of the most important produce to buy organic:

Apples, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Celery, Lettuce, Potatoes, Strawberries

Food Organic Price Conventional
Fuji Apple x4 $4.89 $3.89
Bell Pepper $4.99/lb. $1.99
Carrots $1.99/bag $.89
Celery $3.99 $3.49
Lettuce $2.99 $1.99
Potato $1.49/lb. $.99
Strawberries $5.99 $4.99

Pesticides Used

Knowing how many pesticides are used when growing your produce is important. Check out the table below to help you make informed decisions.

Food Percentage of Samples With Pesticides Total Number of Pesticides
Asparagus 6.60% 22
Avocado 1.40% 2
Sweet Peas 22.90% 5
Grapefruit 54.50% 10
Onions (Y) 0.20% 2
Sweet Corn 3.70% 3
Pineapple 7.70% 6
Mango 7.10% 13

Learn more about organic foods from the Natural Resources Defense Council.