This past weekend we headed to Home Depot. As we stood at the check-out counter, the grumpy cashier jerked his elbow into a display of precariously perched weed-kill bottles which fell and promptly exploded all over us. Mostly K. His body waist down, coated in foam. My feet got soaked in my first time in sandals this spring. Luckily only a few drops landed on Waleed. We raced home to wash it off as fast as we could- and that night, when K said his legs itched- I worried. While I realize its a chemical designed to harm plant-life and K is decidedly human- I can’t shake off the fact that the chemical was designed for the specific purpose to harm.
It got me thinking about food and the pesticides inherent in regular store-bought produce which washing alone simply won’t get rid of. While the pesticides in produce are designed to attack insects- its a chemical with the specific purpose to harm.
I know organic is best, but until the moment I saw chemicals leaching on to my husband’s skin, I didn’t grasp it in quite so tangible a form. The majority of Waleed’s food is organic and I buy it separately for him. K and me? We aim for organic but go conventional for the majority of our produce purchases. The reason is simple: Price.
For example, the asparagus I went to the grocery store to purchase today:
You can ninety-nine cent it all you want, that’s $6 asparagus! Normally, I’d see the sharp price-difference and pluck the regular veggie off the shelf- they look the same after all, but today the foamy substance fresh in my head, I bought the pricey produce because while pesticides are not intended to harm me, what are the side effects of those bug-zapping chemicals? What do the harsh punishments meted out to the insects interested in my apple mean for me and my family? A friend dismissed this saying we ate ‘regular food’ and we’re fine aren’t we? Except I think food may have been produced differently back then, and who is to say it didn’t affect us?
Until now I’ve compromised. I go organic with the top contaminated foods [and lately, with my eggs and meat too]. But now I’m considering the chemicals in the soil and water in otherwise hardy fruit like watermelon or lemons and wonder what else has found its way through the outer layer into the soft flesh?
Why not stop contemplating and just stick to Whole Foods the whole time? As the owner of our favorite Turkish establishment says to us with a stern wag of his finger, Whole Foods baba? Whole paycheck! I’m in a single-income household and I look at what things cost. I just do. I’m fortunate I can afford to make this decision of organic or not. It will hit my budget but its something I could do- I’m just trying to figure out if I’m making much ado about nothing, or if I need to make a serious commitment to shifting my entire fooding intake to locally grown [sans pesticide] or certified organic. Because the chemical visual at Home-Depot made me realize I don’t want to be penny-wise in the produce department and pound-foolish with my family’s health and well-being.
What are your thoughts? Is there merit in going 100% organic? Do you go organic without compromise or selectively choose what to pay the extra bucks for?