Friday, September 30, 2011

Strawberries Please, Hold the Pesticide!

Thinking of Growing My Own!
My family LOVES strawberries. This summer, we consumed flats and flats of organic strawberries. We eat them plain, in smoothies, or in desserts with whipped cream when we are feeling decadent. Organic strawberries aren't always easy to find, so at our Farmer's Market on Saturdays I always try to stock up. If we run out, fortunately our local Trader Joe's has them, but of course I prefer mine locally grown.

Naturally sweet!

They might be smaller, not the 'roided out strawberries that you might see in some grocery stores. But they are sweet and I don't have to worry about methyl bromide. I have been following news stories about this pesticide for the last year. The little of the area around where I live, and mostly south of here, is agriculturally intensive. I see workers in the fields wearing what look like space-man hazmat suits to deal with strawberries. I am glad to see their employers are taking precautions for their employees but wonder what happens to the methyl bromide in the air around the fields and in our neighborhoods. This chemical has been known to cause reproductive harm, and was supposed to be phased out but it is still heavily in use. Apparently, strawberry growers can apply for an exemption if there is no alternative. I will see some well meaning strawberry vendors at my Farmers Market with signs that say "no pesticides". But I'm not messing around, I will only buy from the vendors that have the "certified organic" signage.

First of all, it makes me sick that there can be an exemption for something like this! But of course, it's business, which we knows trumps everything in the modern world. Even health. I will just continue to do my part and boycott these berries, for the sake of my community. As this season comes to a close, I am considering growing my own strawberries for next summer. Hope that works out better than our vegetable garden this summer...

Have you heard of methyl bromide? If you read my blog, you probably lean a bit toward organic produce anyway. But even I "slip" from time to time for convenience, but I never will for strawberries. Will you?

14 comments:

  1. I know strawberries are important to buy organic. We're lucky bc we have a Whole Foods nearby and it's fairly easy to get organic fruit and produce. My son loves them too.

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  2. I sometimes "slip" due to cost and if I can't find what I need in organic. But, strawberries and different types of lettuce are 2 things I never slip on. I know there are a few other things but these 2 come to mind immediately. Organic only!

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  3. I will never forget an episode of ER, back in the day, when a John Doe was being autopsied and the coroner was tella Luca what she knew about him from his body and one of the things she said was that he must have been from the Central Valley, probably Fresno, because he had holes (HOLES!) in his lungs that was only seen in that area, due to pesticide use. I realize that was a fictional show, but I don't doubt the validity of that bit of information.

    Fast forward to the study that was done, with results published last year (? don't quote me on the timing, my best guess is last year or so) about farm workers children....not the farm workers themselves, but their children, who do not work on the farm. They all had pesticides in their bodies (I don't remember how they were effected, but it was the first time that it was proven, conclusively, that the effects were passed on to their children).

    Rewind just a touch to our kidlet's autism diagnosis. I'm a big believer that environmental factors are contributing (not the only factor, but definitely a player) to the rise of developmental disorders among our children. My feeling is that the amounts of radiation, pesticides, airborne toxins, toxins in our water, in our soil where our food is grown, in animals' feed, etc. all add up to far greater than the amounts that we're told are safe. Maybe the limits that are stated are actually safe, but not when all the different sources are added up together.

    We buy mostly organic produce. I buy non organic bananas and bought a watermelon this summer that wasn't organic. But, I always buy organic berries (any kind of berry) and anything else on the Dirty Dozen.

    My boy has had a strawberry plant in our backyard for two and a half years and it's done really well, with *very* minimal care. It doesn't produce enough to allow us to stop buying them every trip. But, since they've been so easy to grow, I think we might get some more to plant next year.

    I say Go For It! And let us know how it works for you! :>

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  4. Karen, I agree with you on all of the above. I do buy non organic bananas too, but Yes Yes Yes to all berries...our family devours blueberries just as much as strawberries.It's encouraging to know your boy's plant does well without much maintenance, I will definitely give it a try! As I mentioned I can literally drive down the freeway and around our town and see fields of produce being grown, its pretty disconcerting to know the dangers of methyl bromide and other pesticides and how close we are to them!!

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  5. I have not heard of methyl bromide so thanks for this article. I go through bananas like there will be none tomorrow so I was just curious, is there a reason y'all are buying non organic bananas?

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  6. This sparked a great Twitter conversation last night Karen! To address the most recent comment, we go through bananas like crazy too. I actually do mostly buy the organic bananas from Trader Joe's. But, occasionally I will buy non organic since they are on the list of foods safe to buy non-organic. For more info on this check out the "Dirty Dozen" list, meant to serve purely as a guide. http://robin.hubpages.com/hub/organic

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  7. I am not familiar with specific pesticides...I do my best to buy organic whenever I can. I love locally grown strawberries, but our season here in FL is so short for them.

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  8. Your berries look wonderful. How wonderful to bite into a berry and truly be eating just a berry.

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  9. We love fruit but I am the only one that enjoys strawberries here...so that is not usually a problem, however I wonder about the restaurants I get strawberry pie at?

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  10. It should be illegal to put all of those pesticides and fertilizers on any food without explicitly telling me the side effects. I believe many people think they are eating healthfully when, in fact, they are increasing their risks for numerous cancers and disease.

    Organic is the way to go!

    april@Party of Five
    http://www.westerhold.blogspot.com

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  11. How pretty. Plus, they are so easy to grow. I love strawberries so much, but the chemicals are a real threat to our health.

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  12. We love strawberries and if I didn't have a black thumb of death, I might actually consider growing my own. I always buy them organically or from the local farmers around here, although the use of pesticides is more regulated here than in the US.

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  13. I wish it was more regulated here Barbara!!!

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  14. I admit, I've never heard of it before, but now I'm interested, so off to Google!

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