Berry Picking: Organic vs. Conventional Strawberries
It's March and strawberry season is in full swing here in California. Those red ripe strawberries are a welcome change from winter fruits, and the farmer's markets are bursting with locally-grown varieties.
But before you bring home those first strawberries of the season, consider this:
1) Whether you live in California or not, the overwhelming majority of fresh strawberries are grown in the Golden State, and shipped from here. Growing conventional strawberries involves the use of methyl bromide as a pre-plant fumigant for the soil (possibly to be replaced by another controversial chemical called methyl iodide**). Methyl bromide is a toxic chemical that has resulted in harmful side-effects to farm workers.
2) The pesticide residue on conventional strawberries is among the highest of all fruits. In 2008, over 50 pesticide residues were identified for conventional strawberries, according to the USDA Pesticide Data Program.
3) There's a growing consensus among scientists that pesticides are harmful to our health. This is especially true for pregnant women and children.
It's true that organic strawberries cost more. But if you're concerned about what goes into your body, picking organic strawberries instead of conventional ones may be your wisest choice.
And a reminder.
If you decide to eat organic strawberries, don't forget to purchase organic strawberry jams, and other organic strawberry products, too.
P.S. ** As an interesting development to this post, the company that makes methyl iodide will halt distribution in the U.S., but not other countries.