Last year, when the Environmental Working Group released its annual “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides,” also known as the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15,” I went shopping to find them.
I couldn’t imagine most reasonable shoppers were walking in with this list in hand, planning to only purchase the organic versions of these fruits and vegetables.
Turns out, even with a trip to Whole Foods, I could not find all 12.
Cherries, which were in season at the time, and sweet bell peppers eluded me.
What I did find cost more than twice as much as their conventional counterparts.
So this year, I thought I’d try again.
I went to a Price Chopper in a pretty nice neighborhood in Overland Park, Kan.
There, I found very little organic produce.
- organic celery for $2.49 compared to $1.99 for conventional;
- organic strawberries for $3.99 a pound compared to $2.50 a pound for conventional;
- organic spinach for $3.49 for 5 ounces compared to $2 for 10 ounces for conventional; and
- organic blueberries for $3.49 for 6 ounces compared to $2.49 for 18 ounces for conventional.
Just like last year, the standard neighborhood store carried only four of what I needed so I headed to the Whole Foods about 15 blocks away.
Here’s where Whole Foods blew my mind.
Since when is this place so cheap?
I’ve read a lot about Whole Foods positioning itself as more of a value for shoppers, trying to drop that “Whole Paycheck” stigma, but had yet to see it in person.
My Dirty Dozen price comparison was shocking.
Organic grapes were $2.99 a pound, the same price as conventional grapes at the other store.
Peaches and nectarines were $2.99 a pound, the same as the conventional versions at Price Chopper.
Cherries were even more of a value.
At Whole Foods, organic cherries were $5.99 a pound, the same price as conventional cherries at Price Chopper.
Conventional cherries were $4.99 a pound at Whole Foods, a dollar a pound cheaper than the other store.
Whole Foods also had a 2-pound clamshell of blueberries for $5.99, which was cheaper than my husband paid for the same clamshell (even the same shipper) at Costco the day before.
Maybe I need to shop around more.
I can handle that.
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