The Dirty Dozen

How Many Chemicals are Safe for Your Family’s Table?

Environmental Working Group (EWS) Announces 2015 Dirty Dozen

The EWS released their annual list of the most chemically contaminated foods we eat, known as the Dirty Dozen, calculates exposure rates of 165 various chemicals that are sprayed on our fruits and vegetables every year. Some of these chemicals are sprayed in the field. Many more are used in the processing of the food supply.

The Dirty Dozen for 2015:

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Sweet peppers
  • Spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Imported snap peas

 
For this year the EWS has concluded that nearly 100% of the apples, peaches and nectarines tested positive for pesticide residue.

The average potato has more pesticide residue by weight than any other vegetable.
Single samples of a grape and a pepper sample contained 15 different pesticides.
A single sample of cherry tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, snap peas and nectarines contained 13 different chemicals.

Leafy greens, Swiss chard and kale, two very popular veggies thought to be super foods, are particularly contaminated. In a 2008 test they were found to contain 51 different chemicals, with collard greens containing 41. Many of the chemicals found are highly dangerous substances. Some of them have been subsequently banned but many are still in use today.

While this is disturbing news for people who care about the health and safety of humans and the environment, there is hope on the horizon.

Many small farms are embracing a 'back to the roots' approach to growing food, eschewing chemical inputs for a soil based approach to plant health.

At Harmony Ridge Farms we believe that conventional chemicals have no place on our farm and since our inception, six years ago, we have used no conventional pesticides, fungicides or herbicides. Zero.

Crops such as Swiss chard, kale, onions, garlic, peppers, melons, lettuce, cucumbers, arugula, winter and summer squash and others receive no sprays of any kind.

The USDA organic regulations stipulate 20 different substances organic farms may spray on fruits and vegetables.
We only use three, all derived from natural substances and only applied as needed because we have worked to build up nutrient rich soil, virtually eliminating the need to spray our crops.
 
We could get far more production with additional sprays, however we feel that the additional work is worth the effort to produce a healthier, cleaner plant.

We pride ourselves in producing and sourcing clean produce, safe for you and our family to enjoy. Even the fruit we source locally are low spray varieties, the cleanest we can get in this part of the world.

We want to produce a product that is safer for you and safer for the environment. We consider our produce to be safer alternative to traditional organic standards.

We invite you and your family to visit our farm this year and observe our farming methods. We want you to feel confident about serving our food to your family.