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Joined: 10/13/2006
Msg: 9
Organic foodsPage 1 of 2    (1, 2)
organically produced food is a bandwagon that a lot of food producers are hopping theory its practise...well its not always practical...
tell me what would be worse...a few hundred acres of cabbage for example that was destroyed by bugs...or having to wash off a bit of chemical that coulda killed the bugs?
as far as meat goes...i dont approve of the use of steroids and growth hormones etc...
antibiotics injected into cows to prevent disease?...i'll ponder that one this fall when i am waiting in line for my flu shot...
sure i'd rather eat a free range chicken than one thats forced to stand in a coop all either scenario theres gonna be a chicken in my guts anyhow...
what is a greater concern to me personally is the way foodstuffs are being genetically manipulated and altered...
(off topic a bit...i used to work at a furniture store here assembling unfinished pieces...there was one type of wood that came from south america that very closely resembled fir...i asked about it...cant recall the name off hand but i was told that the tree took 2 yrs to get from a a mature... 60 foot or so...harvestable tree...tell me there was no intervention there!?)
i took one vendor to task a couple of years ago at the market i was vending at...he was advertising..."organic honey" and charging twice as much for it...i think i kinda spoiled his day for him...i asked him point blank in front of several potential the hell he could control where the bees went to eat...
Joined: 10/3/2005
Msg: 10
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Organic foods
Posted: 8/28/2007 11:25:56 PM

tell me what would be worse...a few hundred acres of cabbage for example that was destroyed by bugs

This is called mono-culture. No organic grower would risk having a few hundred acres planted in cabbage alone because they would be asking for trouble. In fact, one of the reasons conventional agriculture (and silviculture) requires pesticides is because people are trying to grow crops in isolation. Companion planting has been done for centuries.

or having to wash off a bit of chemical that coulda killed the bugs?

What "coulda killed the bugs" could kill people if ingested in too great a quantity. Some crops get sprayed for pest control more than 10 times in a single season. This doesn't even take into account residual pesticides in the soil.

as far as meat goes...i dont approve of the use of steroids and growth hormones etc...


antibiotics injected into cows to prevent disease?...i'll ponder that one this fall when i am waiting in line for my flu shot...

It's your choice whether to have a flu shot or not. If I buy conventional meat, I don't get to choose between antibiotics or not. Feedlot cattle are not much different from chickens that are forced to stand in a coop all day. Basically, none of them are allowed the room for exercise as they are overcrowded and subjected to some of the worst conditions imaginable. Because of this, not only are they injected with antibiotics, it is added directly to their feed as well. Anyone raising their own livestock and wishing to avoid the antibiotics generally has to request special feed.

what is a greater concern to me personally is the way foodstuffs are being genetically manipulated and altered...

Ditto, deluxe.

he was advertising..."organic honey" and charging twice as much for it...i think i kinda spoiled his day for him...i asked him point blank in front of several potential the hell he could control where the bees went to eat...

There is no way he could control where the bees go to forage. However, bees (like all conventional livestock) not only get treated with antibiotics but also a pesticide to control mites. As with other livestock and crops, there are ways to keep them healthy and productive but that tends to be more labour intensive which is the main reason organic costs more.

Needless to say, I try to eat as much organic as possible and am raising my daughter almost exclusively on organic food. We are what we eat.
Joined: 6/26/2007
Msg: 12
Organic foods
Posted: 8/31/2007 2:46:55 PM
I am a vegetarian so I try to always eat organic. It is a healthier alternative to foods that are massed produced or engineered.

The cost has gone up over the years. A good place to look is at local farmers markets. If you go to whole or organic food stores, or even Harris Teeters, the cost is high.

It is healthier as it is grown pesticide free, and who wants to eat those nasty pesticides anyway ...
Joined: 1/30/2005
Msg: 13
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Organic foods
Posted: 9/3/2007 11:30:18 PM
Consumer Reports did an article a year or so back on when it was important to buy organic and when it was not necessary. I remember that the number one thing that you should buy organic was strawberries. Something about the thin skin. You might be able to find this article by googling.

I personally cannot afford to by everything organic, but at least try to buy organic milk, eggs, and occassionally meat. Trader Joe's is a great place to buy organic at affordable prices.
Joined: 10/17/2004
Msg: 15
Organic foods
Posted: 9/6/2007 12:05:26 PM
Diatomaceous earth ?
that's chalk right? not really a fertilizer. may help your pH i suppose altho, I'm not positive.
All natural sure, but inorganic in composition.
try using homemade compost
Joined: 8/9/2007
Msg: 17
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Organic foods
Posted: 11/13/2007 5:23:54 PM
...I've been reading the posts about organics..and find them at the very least slightly amusing. I'm one of the other guys...I'm a conventional farmer...I use pesticides in a manner that is consistent with the most stringent testing program in the world. Our EPA doesn't just pass things along without a plethora of knowledge....Chemical companies typically spend up to 100 million dollars per product to get the testing done that the EPA requires. So I'm not terribly worried about the residues that may or may not be present on conventionally grown food. On the other hand...I certainly understand why folks are interested in organics. They assume that they are a healthier product. I can't say whether they are safer...but..the products are the same one can argue that. I also know production will never equal the yield that conventionally produced crops produce. I wager that at least one third of the world would starve to death if it weren't for modern production agriculture. I won't apologize for feeding a child in Dharfur with a product that I know has been produced with all the safeguards the technology provides. We are so lucky in this country to be able to have a choice to buy organics or conventionally grown food. I hope you understand that organics typically contribute much more load to our carbon footprint. I say that because we can produce a field of soybeans today with only three passes of a tractor....and the soil will remain in place...because we don't have to till it to control the weeds. In organic agriculture...they plow, fit, fit, and sometimes fit again before even planting a crop...this not only burns exposes the soil to erosion, both wind and water. After the crop is up..they have to make at least 3 more passes to cultivate the soybeans. And one other thing happens that most people don't think about. When you till the expose organic matter to oxygen. As soon as it's exposed...the bacteria that digest the organic matter go to work and break it down...and what does it release?..Why carbon dioxide of course, making it a major contributor to global warming. That's why major energy producers are paying farmers to plant strictly no-till crops in order to gain carbon credits that they can use against their carbon dioxide producing smokestacks. Soooooooo...I guess what I want everyone to remember is this...Organics are fine...They offer an alternative that may make someone feel more secure in their choice. Be glad we have the wherewithal to afford them, some people in this world don't have the choice. But never try to make them what they're not....a more nutritious product...they will never be......matter of fact..I know that speltz raised organically will typically have a lower protein content than conventionally grown speltz. And they are a load on our environment that we don't realize...all in the name of reducing our potential risk of dying of cancer by a less than a it worth it..?...You make the call
Joined: 3/1/2006
Msg: 19
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Organic foods
Posted: 11/14/2007 4:45:28 AM
organic produce has more flavor. you may pay a bit more, but i find it completely worthwhile. if you have amish farms nearby, you can hit their markets and get the equivalent of organic without the organic label and pay a bit less.

chickens, left to their own devices, will eat beetles and other ground-crawling bugs. again, you can get really nice free-range chicken from the amish. sometimes, you can even see how the chickens are raised. i also find kosher poultry more flavorful than conventionally-raised birds. you don't get as much fat with kosher, but that only becomes a problem if you want to baste your turkey with its own juices.

i see a trend toward something called 'community-sustained agriculture,' whereby you pay a flat rate, spend time working on a farm, and each month you get a boxful of produce. i suppose it could work, but around here, all i see is someone paying for the privilege of doing someone else's work.

oh, and...about the bees. i asked one of my pollen suppliers how they can certify their pollen organic. they replied that they do, in fact, know where the bees go to collect their pollen and they've planted acres of certified organic flowering plants. bees, it seems, have territory they frequent routinely, more or less a known route.
Joined: 8/9/2007
Msg: 20
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Organic foods
Posted: 11/14/2007 9:52:01 AM
..I just lifted this from America's Test Kitchen's "Cooks Illustrated" website...I knew I read something about different turkeys recently... It's a little long..but goes into what they found out about "free range" and "organically fed" turkeys

Should You Pay Top Dollar for Turkey?
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Written: 11/2007

Turkey is pretty bland, so why pay $100 for a mail-order bird when supermarket options cost less than $2 a pound?
Tasting Turkey

Talking Turkey
A great-tasting roast turkey is not just about turkey flavor; the texture and moisture of the meat are important, too, as anyone who has eaten a mouthful of dry, chewy turkey can attest. Wondering how big a role fat played, we sent the turkeys in our lineup to an independent laboratory to test samples from the skin, white meat, and dark meat; we also had the lab measure their salt content. As we awaited results, we talked with turkey experts about the factors that contribute to a turkey's quality, which include its breed, how it's raised and fed, and how it's processed for sale.

In a sense, modern commercial turkeys have been bred to have very little flavor, said Michael Lilburn, a professor of animal sciences at Ohio State University. "In the United States, we're a white-meat market. This created a heavy emphasis on genetic selection for breast-muscle growth."

The most common commercial turkey, the Broad-Breasted White, has been bred to grow bigger in less time and on less feed (to reduce costs) and to produce the maximum possible white meat, Lilburn said. Today's turkeys are up to 70 percent white meat, and they grow fast. Most Americans eat a hen (female) turkey on Thanksgiving. These birds are ready for market in just 14 weeks, when they weigh 16 to 22 pounds, which yields processed birds in the 12- to 18-pound range. (By contrast, older breeds of turkey, called heritage birds, need seven to eight months to grow to full size—roughly twice as long as modern turkeys.)

Rapid growth may be good for farmers, but it's not so great for cooks. Modern turkeys have less fat when fully grown, said Dong Ahn, a professor of animal science at Iowa State University, and fat is what provides meat with juiciness and flavor. "Fats contain more flavor compounds over time," Ahn said. "Commercial birds grow so fast, they don't have time to accumulate much flavor."

In Good Taste
Turkey growers have resorted to other means to return flavor—and fat—to the turkey, including injecting "basting" solutions during processing. These solutions can contain salt, turkey broth, oil, sugar, and sodium phosphate (which raises the meat's pH, binding water to the cells), all of which work to season the meat and keep it moist. Turkeys sold this way are often called "prebasted" and can be identified by the ingredient label. While our tasting panel generally liked Butterball and Jennie-O birds in this familiar style, some found them bland and "wet" rather than actually moist.

Another way turkey gains flavor is through koshering. Kosher birds start as the same breed of commercial large-breasted turkeys, but they are processed according to Jewish dietary law and under rabbinical supervision. The carcasses are covered in kosher salt and then rinsed multiple times in cold water, which works to season the meat, improve its texture, and help it retain moisture. Rubashkin's Aaron's Best and Empire Kosher were the two kosher birds in our lineup. While Aaron's Best ranked highly, tasters found the Empire to be decidedly bland. What made the difference? The lab tests were revealing. The Aaron's Best turkey had slightly more fat and nearly twice as much salt as the Empire turkey.

So what about the unconventional turkeys? The organic, pasture-raised bird from Good Earth Farms in Milladore, Wis. (purchased online through the independent farm cooperative Local Harvest) was the same breed as commercial turkeys, but it had been free to roam and eat foraged grass and insects. It also ate organic versions of the usual soy and cornmeal feed most turkeys consume, along with wheat. While all this sounds great, our tasters didn't notice a big improvement in flavor. Indeed, Ahn noted that unless the bird was eating 100 percent foraged food, most consumers could not taste a difference in the meat. The texture of this bird was slightly stringier and tougher than most tasters preferred, probably because it got more exercise. It finished second to last in our lineup.

Another unconventional turkey, from Diestel Family Turkey Ranch in Sonora, Calif., was raised on a vegetarian diet—meaning the bird ate none of the animal byproducts that can be part of commercial turkey diets—and was "range-grown," another term for pasture-raised. The company claims its birds are allowed to grow longer than average—in this case, about six months—for better flavor; however, tasters found that flavor "gamy" and "fishy," particularly in the dark meat. It finished last in the rankings.

Unlike the other two unconventional birds, the single heritage turkey in our lineup won favor, with tasters remarking on its "robust turkey flavor" that was "sweet" and "complex." Heritage turkeys are directly descended from wild turkeys and nearly disappeared in the mid-20th century as commercial Broad-Breasted Whites were created by the poultry industry. Heritage turkeys have colorful feathers, a more elongated frame, and a narrower breast.

The heritage turkey in our lineup, sold through Dean & Deluca for $100 plus shipping, had the most fat by far of the turkeys we tasted—lab results showed it had nearly three times the fat of the leanest bird. A call to its grower, Mike Walters of Walters Hatchery in Stilwell, Okla., revealed his secret for a sweeter bird. While most turkeys eat a ration of corn and soybean meal throughout their lives, Walters eliminates soy from his turkeys' diet in the final weeks, feeding them only sweet corn. "It gives the birds a layer of fat under the skin," Walters said. He also tastes the feed himself before he gives it to the turkeys. "I figure whatever residual flavor is in my mouth is the residual flavor that you will have after eating my turkey," he said. "If you ever ate a plain soybean, you know it's bitter. Why feed your birds a flavor that is bitter?" Walters said that he believes any breed of turkey would benefit from this feeding system, though he admits to having no science to back up this assertion, and the food scientists we spoke to were a bit skeptical.

Pecking Order
So what should you buy? It's hard to go wrong with the frozen kosher bird from Aaron's Best. It's moist, flavorful, and ready to cook, since no brining is needed. The prebasted birds from Butterball and Jennie-O finished a notch below our top choices, but they are consistent and also don't require brining. Although unremarkable, the frozen prebasted birds are certainly acceptable.

It's harder to give definitive advice about the less conventional choices. We didn't like the two pasture-raised birds we tasted, and heritage turkeys tend to be more variable in flavor than commercial options. Although the heritage bird from Walters Hatchery finished in the top tier, in a previous tasting of several heritage turkeys (November/December 2005), tasters complained that many of the birds were too gamy.
Joined: 8/9/2007
Msg: 21
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Organic foods
Posted: 11/14/2007 10:35:45 AM
..If I read the links right that you posted...they are simply searches for published articles about the nutrition comparison between organic and conventionally produced food....which are published on a government website. They aren't comparisons done by the USDA...or..any of the Land Grant Universities that specialize in agriculture.
..Now...I'm actually going to agree with you on something...There will be less nitrates in organically grown food. That is because plants use nitrate as the number one building block in their fertility needs...and conventionally grown food will have nitrates added to the soil in order to raise the productivity of the crop.... On the other of the other findings surprises me...Phosphorous is either second or third on the list of fertility needs in plants...and they find that it is higher in organically grown foods?...That doesn't seem to make sense...we (the conventional grower) typically add phosphorous to the soil to benefit the plant...and the organically produced food will be relying on phosphorous broken down from other sources such as compost, manure or mineralization of the soil. When producing large volumes of organic crops...there isn't enough compost in the world to add to the soil...and there is only so much chicken litter and pig manure to go is the choice for most farmers.
So I'm having a hard time figureing out why the levels would be higher in organic produce...As for the rest of the nutrients...I think there's a simple answer...Organic production leads to slower growing plants. Which may allow them to have higher levels of minerals present in their biology...that is..they aren't diluted in the plant that grows faster because of the presence of more available nutrients like nitrates, phosphorous, and potassium. This is all just my theory... same as the article's that were published....
Joined: 9/23/2007
Msg: 23
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Organic foods
Posted: 9/9/2009 8:30:41 AM
"I'm allergic to a lot of foods, so I was wondering about new organic foods and such.....

I have a friend who is allergic to a lot of things, too. She recently told me that she has had to add to the list of things that make her allergies worse, GMO (genetically modified) products, particularly corn and soy. At first, I couldn't understand why, until I read that some of the genetically modified crops have genes added to them that cause them to produce their own pesticide, presumably so that the crops don't have to be sprayed--the pesticide is right inside the plant itself. So then you can't wash it off, because it is inside the plant.

"What are your favorite organic foods?"

I really enjoy organic watermelon lately, the kind with seeds. I eat the seeds, (I just chew them or grind up and add to other things) because they are an old folk remedy for high blood pressure (I don't have high blood pressure, but once I learned that the seeds have health benefits, I started eating them and they actually taste good.) I think the organic watermelon tastes better than the non-organics.

"Why do you choose to go organic?"

I went organic when I could afford to. I have always tried to have a garden and I would grow things without spraying anything chemical on them. I started reading this really cool organic gardening magazine many years ago that helped me do this. It was really well-written and funny, and I enjoyed just reading it even in the winter. I don't know if it is still around, but it really taught me a lot of things about plants, and the circle of life in a plot of land. I even learned a bit about biodynamic farming, which is a whole other topic in itself...

I have a kid with Autism, and he seems to have been overloaded with mercury from vaccinations and was exposed to lead in a home we lived in. I had to try to reduce the total toxic burden on his system any way I could. At the time, organic foods seemed too expensive, but we tried to get as much as we could because at the time he was diagnosed there really wasn't a lot of things anybody could suggest to help him, and so we did what we could. From researching Autism over the last 10 years I learned a lot about the toxins in our environment and how the human body responds to them. I was very motivated because Autism is no walk in the park for a parent.

"And do you buy everything organic or just some things organic?"

First, I switched to organic apples after it was in the news a number of years ago that what was put into the wax on the apples to keep them fresh was toxic.

Then, more recently, I heard that farmers have to use "hazmat" suits to take care of strawberry crops because when they spray the "required" chemicalc o c k tail of pesticides on them they can get very sick from this if they get it on themselves or breathe it. So organic strawberries was next.

Then, I learned that you can avoid most pesticides by avoiding twelve foods that require a ton of spraying with chemicals to "protect them." (Protect them? What about us?) They are called the "dirty dozen." Here is just one of many articles written about the dirty dozen in the last few years:

Top Foods to Choose Organic

The “dirty dozen” are the most commonly and highly contaminated foods with pesticides and chemicals, even after washing and peeling. The research used to compile this list is from extensive independent tests run by the FDA and the USDA from over 100,000 samples of food. The chemical pesticides detected in these studies are known to cause cancer, birth defects, nervous system and brain damage, and development problems in children.

1. Meat: beef, pork, and poultry
The EPA reports that meat is contaminated with higher levels of pesticides than any plant food. Many chemical pesticides are fat-soluble and accumulate in fatty tissue of animals.

2. Dairy: milk, cheese and butter
For similar reasons to meat, the fat in dairy products pose a high risk for contamination of pesticides as animals concentrate pesticides and chemicals in their milk and meat. Growth hormones and antibiotics are also a serious concern and invariably found in commercial milk, cheese and butter.

3. Strawberries
Strawberries are the most heavily dosed crops with pesticides in America. On average, 300 pounds of pesticides are applied to every acre of strawberries (compared to an average of 25 pounds per acre for other foods).

4. Apples
With 36 different chemicals detected in FDA testing, half of which are neurotoxins (meaning they cause brain damage), apples are almost as contaminated as strawberries. Peeling non-organic apples reduces but does not eliminate the danger of ingesting these chemicals. Go organic, especially for children.

5. Tomatoes
More than 30 pesticides are standard regimen to spray on conventionally grown tomatoes. The thin skin does not protect chemicals from infiltrating the whole tomato. Bummer.

6. Potatoes
Potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in America and rank among the most laden with pesticides. Fungicides added to soil where potatoes are grown is another story and reason to go organic.

7. Spinach (and other greens including lettuce)
The FDA found spinach to be one of the most frequently contaminated crops with some of the most potent pesticides used on food.

8. Coffee
Most coffee is grown is countries where there are little to no standards to regulate the use of chemicals and pesticides on food. Purchasing “Fair Trade” coffee is further assurance that the premium price paid for this treasured beverage supports farms and workers with more equanimity and reward.

9. Peaches and Nectarines
45 different pesticides are regularly applied to succulent, delicious peaches and nectarines in conventional orchards. The thin skin does not protect the fruit from the dangers of these poisons.

10. Grapes (especially imported grapes)
Because grapes are a delicate fruit, they are sprayed multiple times during different stages of growth. The thin skin does not offer much protection to the 35 different pesticides used as a standard in conventional vineyards. Imported grapes are even more heavily treated that domestically grown grapes. Several of the most poisonous pesticides banned in the U.S. are still used on grapes grown abroad.

11. Celery
At least 29 different chemicals are applied directly to conventionally grown celery as it grows, which cannot be washed off because celery does not have any protective skin.

12. Bell Peppers (Red & Green)
Bell peppers are one of the most heavily sprayed foods, with standard use of 39 pesticides. The thin skin of peppers does not offer much protection from spraying.

~Source: The Balanced Plate, by Renée Loux, TV show host of "It's Easy Being Green"

Recently, I have been able to go completely organic with everything I buy. I consider this a great opportunity. I also think it is sad that eating without added chemicals I don't want is considered a luxury in this country. Also, recently, my health has improved 100%. This is primarily from figuring out what my own body needed and didn't need, and isn't entirely from eating organic. But I think it is no coincidence that after going organic for my entire family and myself, we are all doing better. Much better. In fact, really great.

In addition, I switched to drinking mostly tea, mainly green tea (organic Jasmine green tea is my fav) years ago. I sleep better now, I think because as you age its harder to get rid of all the caffeine in your blood by nighttime.

I also switched to buying entirely Fair Trade coffee for when I do drink coffee, because I still like coffee, just not every day anymore. Fair trade is really worth the effort to find for a lot of reasons, if you learn more about how your food is grown and distributed, and how this affects the farmers you will understand. It just makes a lot of sense. Why pay more for something that doesn't ultimately benefit the farmer who actually grows your food?

I like to go to farmer's markets a lot. I like getting to know who grows the food that nourishes me and my family. They help me with cooking tips and it is just fun to go there and see all of nature's bounty spread outdoors. Its an outing for the kids, we usually eat lunch right there at the vendors. The prices are better, and the experience is priceless.

Just recently, a local businessman who lives near us turned the flat top of his warehouse into a green roof. He grows organic vegetables on his roof, and sells them to the co-op a mile away, and I live only a few blocks from there. For some reason, locally grown food produced by my neighbors tastes so much better. I can walk to get my food, and the food I buy hasn't needed to be picked un-ripe, transported up to a thousand miles, then ripened with chemicals to be put into a grocery where nobody knows where it came from or anything else about it when they buy it.

The green roof reduces the heat that builds up in the city. There is up to a ten degree difference in cities because of all the pavement and rooftops reflecting the heat. Trees, green roofs and other plantings can reduce the need to use air-conditioning by quite a bit.
Joined: 1/30/2005
Msg: 24
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Organic foods
Posted: 9/13/2009 11:09:15 PM
So I'm standing in the local close out store, "Big Lot's" and I find this great deal on cans of Organic Baby Leaf Spinach at 80 cents a piece. I picked up a half dozen of them and as I was waiting in the check out lane, this guy behind me says "you don't really buy that do you?" I asked him what. He said "that the organic stuff is any different than regular food". I have heard this alot lately, once from a guy at the gym who claimed to be studying nutrition in college. He assured me that there was no such thing as organic food and that it was only a label for people like me who like paying more. I really do not know what to say to these people. Are we sure the USDA organic seal is valid? I remember hearing a bit of debate during the tainted peanut butter crisis that an "organic" peanut butter bar was part of the recall. Anyone have any answers?
Joined: 3/13/2008
Msg: 26
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Organic foods
Posted: 9/19/2009 2:25:10 PM
If you are allergic to something, such as wheat, whether the wheat is organic or not is not going to make you any less allergic.

It also doesn't affect whether I like it or not.
Joined: 1/30/2005
Msg: 27
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Organic foods
Posted: 9/20/2009 10:29:21 PM
Paul K, your "tests" were really meaningless. Conventional fruit and vegetables taste fine. It is a matter of what is going in your body with them like pesticides, etc. Taste has very little to do with it.

Incidentally, bananas is one thing that is unnecessary to buy organic as the peel is so thick, the pesticides do not penetrate it as much.
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