Wednesday, July 11, 2012
The abundance of local produce in the Hamptons in the summer time is quite a luxury. Baskets of blueberries and piles of fresh corn at farm stands every few miles are quite inspiring. Although local produce is all the rage and high in nutrients I still prefer organic whenever I can for the produce on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen List which includes apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, imported nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries and potatoes.
It is definitely more work to buy organic and requires shopping at specific stores. In East Hampton, you can find organic blueberries and blackberries at the EECO Farm Stand on Newtown Lane. But, if you go when Iocono Farm is open you can pick up some fresh eggs or chicken right across the way! The new Whole Foods Wainscott Store carries organic plums, peaches and nectarines and probably has the largest selection of produce. Although bananas are not very local or seasonal, organic bananas (and celery) are sold all year long at the Waldbaums Supermarket on Newtown Lane.
If you want to know which produce are conventional and which contain pesticides just ask if they "have any produce that are not sprayed." Many farm stands will be happy to fill you in if you ask.
It can seem overwhelming at first to try to locate organic items but often it doesn't even require a special trip--it just means stopping by when you pass by the store. You can even look at it as a organic treasure hunt and see it is an adventure.
And not everything has to be organic, there are a bunch of things on the clean 15 list that are lower in pesticides that you can buy from your local farm stand including onions, corn, avocado, peas, eggplant and watermelon. You can visit the Environmental Working Group 2012 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce and click on the right side link Download Guide as PDF to print out a wallet sized printout of the guide.
Not everyone needs to make this kind of effort to buy organic but people who have chronic health issues and people who know that they are not great detoxifiers should make the effort to steer clear of pesticides. I make the effort to buy organic because I know too much about the dangers of pesticides. According to What's On My Food, blueberries that were tested contained 52 different pesticides--14 of the pesticides were known neurotoxins. A lecture that I attended said to picture the signs that said "convential" as POISON and see the signs that said "organic" as SAFE. It certainly does help to shift your thinking.
Information is quite empowering and makes the drive to the EECO Farm Stand seem worth it. And when I am not passing by a farm stand that sells organic produce I pick up some corn and a watermelon.