Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Beware the North Carolina Strawberry Glut

I have read several times in the last couple weeks about an anomaly in the North Carolina (and other areas as well) summer strawberry harvest. Unusual weather patterns have caused strawberry production to be sudden, large, and not anticipated to be ongoing. That is, all the summer berries are going to come in at once resulting in abundance and lower prices, especially at U-Pick-Um farms.

While I like strawberries as much as the next person, I never by conventional strawberries because they are so heavily sprayed with toxic pesticides. Strawberries, along with other soft-skin fruits like peaches, are consistently ranked at the top of the "Do Not Eat These Conventional Fruits" lists because of their high pesticide residues. Instead, eat organically-grown versions. None of our bodies suffer from chemical poison deficiencies that need to be remedied by eating petroleum-based chemical poisons. :-)

So while the summer strawberry glut is tempting, and baskets of berries are showing up at farmer's markets, I would definitely avoid those that are not organic. Last summer, whenever I found organic strawberries on sale at Earthfare or other local stores, I would buy extra and dump them into gallon Zip-Lock type bags and put them in the freezer to use in smoothies during the winter. I still have a couple gallons left. They can be a little mushy when defrosted, but since I use them only in smoothies (while frozen) that's not a problem.

The Environmental Working Group's list of the conventional foods to avoid because of heavy pesticide residues, along with the least contaminated (along with an iPhone App with the same information) can be found here.

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