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When Eating Greens Is Not Good For You

Swiss chard

When Barbara Pleasant’s piece appeared in Mother Earth News this week I knew I had to dust off the draft of a post I had tentatively entitled, Why Eating Five Bags Of Kale A Week Might Not Be A Good Idea.

The title came from a random encounter with an enthusiastic 20-something who proudly told me he and his wife consumed five bags of kale each week. I hope he reads When Eating Greens Is Not Good For You.

Follow the link to review this well-researched blog post and read here about the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen Plus.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) annually publishes the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in ProduceThe Dirty Dozen Plus and the Clean 15 lists summarize their findings drawn from the latest  USDA and FDA data.

The most recent list ranks spinach number 8 and lettuce number 9 on the Dirty Dozen Plus list. Equally disturbing is the special designation given kale and collard greens.

Red Winter Kale

This year we have expanded the Dirty Dozen with a Plus category to highlight two crops–green beans and leafy greens, meaning, kale and collard greens–that did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ criteria but were commonly contaminated with highly toxic organophosphate insecticides. These insecticides are toxic to the nervous system and have been largely removed from agriculture over the past decade. But they are not banned and still show up on some food crops. (EWG)

So just when we think we’re doing something good for our bodies–eating more greens–unless we’re choosing organic or growing our own, we may be unwittingly adding to our pesticide burden.

Use the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce to determine when you should buy organic. Print the Shopper’s Guide as a PDF. Check the Full List: 45 Fruits and Veggies. Read about EWG's methodology and review FAQ’s About Produce and Pesticides. The Press Release is a readable summary.

Now go buy those organic greens and make A Galette of Winter Greens.

Photo credit for chard: Mother Earth News

Harvest Monday in San Diego at the end of February

A Galette of Winter Greens