Top 12 Produce Items To Grow at Home

by on May 14, 2012


According to the EWG’s 2011 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, these are the “Dirty Dozen” – the top 12 produce items that are prone to pesticides when they aren’t being grown organically. These items should be either grown at home or purchased from trusted organic sources. Where applicable we have linked the produce item below to the appropriate page in our Grower’s Guide as well as to seed sources where applicable.. The items not yet linked will be written about in the future, but if you have questions about how to grow any item from the list below, please leave us a comment! We are more than happy to answer any questions you’ve got.


Apples moved up 3 spots from the previous year.

Celery [get seed]
Celery was #1 in 2010.


Peaches were #1 in 2009.

Spinach [get seed]

Nectarines (imported)

Grapes (imported)

Sweet Bell Peppers [get seed]


Blueberries (domestic)

Lettuce [get seed]

Kale [get seed] / Collard Greens [get seed]


Since organic produce is often quite cost-prohibitive, consider growing even a few of the items from this list yourself and you will save your family a lot of money while enjoying the peace of mind that comes along with knowing that no toxic chemical pesticides were used.

Remember that old phrase from childhood that is just as true today-  you are what you eat!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah July 26, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Oh come on! Grapes are super easy to grow. Grapes have roots of Texas stock; that means tough as nails and drought resistant. If you have a fence you can train them on it. They might have seeds but spit them out no big deal (You can buy seedless grape vines, but they don’t live as long as seeded, nobody knows why). You can have Malabar spinach, a vine whose leaves taste like spinach and is much easier to grow. There are also lots of edible plants that grow easily but are too fragile to make it to market. Alliums (onions, garlic, shallot, chives) are super easy to grow (You can even save the roots from store onions, put them in water for about an hour, and bury; then you get green onions from them later. Very easy with green onions, a little harder to do with big bulb onions, but still easy to do. Garlic you just plant the tiny bulbets that are not worth peeling, just soak and stick in the dirt).


Harriette Jensen January 24, 2013 at 2:44 PM

All my heirloom tomato and potato plants came from produce I got at the local grocery store. Just be sure to buy organic or they won’t grow. Last year I grew 30 different kinds of tomatoes to see which ones I liked the best and which grew the best in my cool climate (SF bay area) and 5 different kinds of potatoes. I also grew garlic and onions, cilantro, 3 kinds of chili peppers, and several fruit trees from produce. The fruit trees will probably not grow true, but if I don’t like the fruit, I will graft scions from our local rare fruit growers group.


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