Apple of My Eye

19 May

“I just want an apple,” the lanky teen confessed as he trailed me through the grocery store’s alley.

“You know what they say: An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” he recited flirtatiously.

I couldn’t help but shudder. The innocuous apple, the fruit famous for wooing teachers and warding away physicians, has been forever sullied in my mind thanks to a series of articles stumbled across while researching organic food. That discovery has made all apples the equivalent of Snow White’s to me: Poisonous. Dripping with venom. Deadly. Okay, so perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit. But studies show that the average apple has more pesticide residue than other fruit and veggies.

I’ve worked on an organic farm for the past four months. Literally: I’ve picked weeds and harvested produce between launching calls and emails from the office. The unique position made me want to learn more about the industry, market and demand for organic food. I should also admit that despite working between rows of fresh produce, most of my food came from places like the big box store in my backyard. The majority of my diet isn’t organic. Which is why news of the apple’s contamination scared me so. Well, it’s not exactly breaking  news. The study was released nearly a year ago. I’m just dusting it off. 

Peaches aren’t much better.

I discovered this first-hand when I phoned a local orchard about a tour.

“Honey, we don’t let anyone tour the orchards,” the voice on the other end of the line drawled.

“We spray back there, so it isn’t safe.”

I scoffed.

It’s not safe to tour, but the food is safe to eat?

I wondered whether I should share the news with the health-conscious teen as we trekked to the store.

“The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure,” said Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst at the [Environmental Working Group]

Probably the most interesting thing I’m taking away with me from the experience on the farm? Learn more about what you eat: America Revealed: Food Machine, DIRT.

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