On October 21, 2002, to foster consumer interest in organically grown produce, the U.S. Department of Agriculture put into effect a set of standards for labeling organic foods. (See IDEA Health & Fitness Source, January 2003, p. 13.) Putting his own “seal of approval” on the move was health and wellness authority Andrew Weil, MD, coauthor of the best-seller The Healthy Kitchen.
“It is good that the Department of Agriculture is going to regulate the organic foods industry with one set of standards,” Weil said. “However, it is also important to realize that organically grown fruits and vegetables may not be readily available everywhere, and even when they are available, they may not be affordable.”
Weil offers a few suggestions for how you can enjoy the benefits of organic produce economically:
- With a couple of drops of dish detergent in a small tub of water, wash all produce, including organic produce, and rinse it thoroughly. Then peel all produce.
- Buy your produce from farmers' markets, co-operatives, neighborhood gardens or community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs.
- Try to avoid nonorganic produce most likely to contain dangerous pesticide or fungicide residues, such as strawberries, peaches, apricots cherries, Chilean grapes, Mexican cantaloupes, green beans, celery and spinach.
- Grow your own crops in a little garden, Weil points out that this is also a great way to get some exercise.