Organic fruit baskets make a great gift for almost any occasion. Spending a little more to go organic means you aren’t giving unwanted pesticides along with the pears!
In 2011, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) published their Shopper’s Guide. The guide lists the best and the worst produce in terms of residual pesticide levels and it’s a useful tool in helping decide when to spend a little more to go organic.
Fruits with the highest pesticide levels include apples, strawberries, peaches, imported nectarines, imported grapes, and domestic blueberries. So, for these fruits, it’s definitely worth going organic.
Fruit with the lowest pesticide levels include pineapples, mangoes, domestic cantaloupe, kiwi, watermelon and grapefruit. Namely, fruits that have significant peels or rinds and so you essentially peel off any pesticides as part of the preparation process.
The health implications of eating non-organic fruit
As I’ve mentioned previously in organic food articles here on EVG, the science regarding the health effects of eating organic is sparse and largely inconclusive.
The challenge is that there are so many variables that affect human health that it is often very difficult to pin it down to a single factor, such as an organic diet; people’s health is affected by their lifestyle, genetics, where they live etc.
However, Professor Richard Fenske at the University of Washington has done extensive research on human health and agricultural pesticide use and he has written numerous articles for the media on the subject. He’s provided evidence that eating an organic diet changes our exposure to pesticides, particularly among children.
In one study, Fenske and his colleagues switched the diet of a group of children from non-organic to organic for five days and measured pesticide levels in their urine. They found that in just five days, pesticides in the children’s urine dropped below measurable levels, indicating that switching to an organic diet had an immediate effect on the children’s exposures to organophosphorous pesticides.
This report shown on CNN talks a little more about pesticides on fruits and veggies and when it’s important to go organic.
As a mother of a 4-year old, I don’t need to have conclusive evidence about the health implications of those pesticides in order to know that I don’t want them in my son’s growing body.
Giving the gift of healthy eating
Knowing this, it seems like the small premium for going organic with your fruit basket is a small price to pay – whether you make your own or get it ready made.
Personally, I’m a big fan of making my own gift baskets. It means I get to hand select all the fruit, pick the things I know the person likes and probably add some treats such as organic fair trade chocolate into the mix as well! Depending on the occasion, wicker baskets, an organic cotton tote, a bucket or some other useful yet attractive item can be filled with organic delights.
If you don’t have the time or the will to make your own, then it’s always nice to support independent, local businesses. Have a look at local harvest to find a local organic grower near you (or more appropriately near the recipient) that might have a gift basket service they provide.
If you don’t have any luck there, there are lots of online options too – for example, The Fruit Company, Melissa’s, and Golden State Fruit from California. Make sure that you’re getting certified organic fruits in your basket as some will say natural. I’m not sure what an unnatural fruit is, but I sure don’t want to give it as a gift!
So, next time you’re thinking of giving a gift basket, consider organic fruit baskets. Besides not having unwanted pesticides, supporting organic growers means that your supporting more sustainable agricultural practices that are better for the environment.