Once you’ve been sprayed with Malathion, you think twice about your daily dose of pesticides!

I stayed home this weekend and that was a treat…I didn’t even run errands. The only outing was my Saturday morning short drive to pick up the weekly produce box. I thought I’d share a few pictures of the contents of the box while I also tell you more about why I’m personally very interested in purchasing organic fruit and vegetables. I don’t just think of it as a luxury, I consider it very important.

Before the story…the visual aids.

This week’s box included oranges, asparagus, broccoli, chard, chives, collard greens, lambs quarter, lettuce, peas, spinach, and tarragon. The fruit and vegetables are locally grown, which means investing in the community and supporting California farmers. I’m very pleased to participate in that investment, but I’m also very happy to be assured fresh organic produce.

So why is organic important to me? Frankly, I think everyone would be wise to consider the health risks of lifelong exposure to pesticides, but there is so much written on the subject that as much as I love jumping on soap boxes (just ask my friends, they’ll tell you), I really don’t want to use this forum for that. But I will say that when it comes to advocating for safe food sources, I have several places where I feel comfortable wearing my activist hat.

My concerns started in the early 1980’s. California leads all of the others states in farm income, growing over 200 different crops, some grown nowhere else in the nation. So in the early ’80s when farm crops were threatened by the Mediterranean Fruit Fly, the powers-that-be began pelting us with overhead  Malathion spraying.  Determined as an insecticide of “relatively low human toxicity,” weekly aerial spraying of suburban communities, including ours, took place over a period of several months. Wasn’t that special?

Believe me, there was outrage. And fear, so the government’s response was to publicize the Director of the California Conservation Corps publicly swallowing the stuff and mobilizing mental health professionals with public appeals to stay calm. Our only instruction was to stay indoors. I think I remember covering the cars. I also think the fact that it took more than a decade for the bee population to come back was unsettling. With two children under ten years of age I was tremendously bothered by the belief that it was impossible to guarantee we would have absolutely no long-term effects.

In my mind, we’ll never really know. Maybe there was no effect and maybe it was indeed absolutely necessary. But I also think it’s a good idea not to ingest any more pesticide residue than is absolutely necessary. So I buy organic when I can. I don’t consider it a luxury–I’ll eat less if necessary!

These beautiful organic eggs are huge and fresh. They are "add-on" to the weekly box.

Even the rice is California grown.

We don’t all have access to the same amount of locally grown produce, but I do encourage making choices from as close to home as possible. Everyone makes decisions for themselves based on availability and preferences, but for those of us who live quite literally in what has been termed “the bread basket for the world,” I don’t really understand the need to eat imported and out of season fruit and vegetables.

To illustrate my point I’ll share two pictures and then explain!

Season’s Best? Which season would that be? This corn, shipped clear across the country from Florida, was in my local grocery store last week. Before I looked at any labeling I was genuinely confused to see it. We will see wonderfully sweet and very fresh corn in about two months. Can’t we wait? OK…I’m not going to harangue, but I just don’t see the need to transport corn clear across the country.

I am actually concerned that we are quite literally “corn-fed” people, but I would recommend the easily accessed documentary titled “King Corn” and perhaps reading Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” to better understand my concern. These two resources are good jumping off points for learning more about what I believe is a serious problem with the nutritional value of our food supply.

OK. Now that I have that off my chest it’s time for me to shift gears and breathe lighter…so I’m going to go outside and enjoy the last few minutes of Sunday daylight. I’m doing my own part to counteract pesticides in my own garden. Just look at what came home with me yesterday?

I bought a container of 1,500 Ladybugs…I’m releasing them in the rose garden tonight. The funny thing is that I don’t think I have a lot of aphids right now, which may mean they vacate my premises to find an insect meal elsewhere. But that’s fine. They can go wherever they are most needed.

And Monday morning I’ll be taking Pinky with me to see Sophia and Karina. We’ll hit the freeway long before sun-up and I’ll have a good day!

Even Pinky gets good organic baby carrots. I try to be consistent!

Feel free to share your thoughts…I’m not an expert on these topics or concerns, but I’m doing what I can to make educated and informed decisions for my family. And if you have other suggested readings, I’d love to add to my list. I’ve already confessed I rarely need an excuse to buy a new book or two!

Good Monday to you all! Debra

67 thoughts on “Once you’ve been sprayed with Malathion, you think twice about your daily dose of pesticides!

  1. Tarragon and broccoli — I want some of those. I saw beautiful broccoli at the farmers’ market on Saturday and told myself just to eat the vegetables we have from last week’s farm box. Right now we have fennel and chard, carrots and beets and (still) leeks and spring onions. As you know, I like supporting a small, organic farm and eating seasonally.

    • Truthfully, Sharyn, I am sometimes not sure how to best use the herbs. I have no immediate idea how to use fresh tarragon. The produce box does give me a challenge to stretch my experiences! I do learn a lot from your posts and it would be easier if we had the same box ingredients! LOL! We may be in the same state but our climates and local produce are sure different, aren’t they? I wonder if you’ve seen any of the Florida corn? I know this was the first time I’ve ever seen it in April! Hope you have a good week, Sharyn. Debra

  2. As you already know, Debra, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. To eat healthier and support local farmers which in turn creates more jobs is a win win situation. In the 80’s a friend and I started an organic co-op. People wanted to join but no one wanted to help us. The food came in large bags and we had to divide it all up. It was a lot of work but I felt it was so worth the time to fed my young children healthy vegetables and fruit. Now to belong to this CSA is so wonderful and convenient! And the cost is no more than buying conventional produce at the local market. Which is probably not from a local farm and who knows how fresh it is, how far it’s traveled and what it has been treated with (although it’s pretty clear something or else it would be spoiled!). Thank you for this great post! We need to bring awareness to the importance of supporting our local farmers before they go the way of the dinosaur! BTW – the asparagus is absolutely delicious! YUM!!

    • I had the asparagus last night,Diane, and it was great! I am so glad you and Lauren turned me on to Abundant Harvest. I’ve been so delighted, and it really is a good value! What did you think of the overhead Malathion spraying? Did you know about that? I still have a bumper sticker that says something like, Save The Medfly, Spray Jerry Brown. He was governor then, too! We do all need to at least give consideration to nutritional value…it’s a favorite topic of mine and I’m glad we can share…I think I bore some of my other friends:-) See you Wednesday! Debra

      • I did know about the spraying, Debra, and I always think of it as something out of a horror movie! I LOVE your bumper sticker. When I lived in Chicago they sprayed our neighborhood for mosquitoes. A truck went up and down each block and spewed a toxic fog. I was taking a walk one night and got trapped by the ‘fog’ being sprayed. In the street lamps it was a cloud (would have made a great setting for a movie) but the reality was horrible for someone who has done so much research on the effects of insecticides. I became active with a group against the spraying and it was eventually was discontinued. Abundant Harvest (and like organizations) just makes sense and why wouldn’t we take advantage of this great opportunity?! We are so fortunate here in Cal to have all of this amazing produce available to us all year.

      • I would love to hear more about your experiences in Chicago and your “activist” group! Good for you! Let’s talk! Yes, the CSAs and Abundant Harvest are so economical, I am only sorry I didn’t take advantage of it a long, long time ago! I am still so grateful you told me about it! Now I’m an ambassador to others. LOL! Debra

  3. Out of season vegetables & fruits are over priced and stored in cooled rooms by the time you get it the goodness is destroyed. Here in South Africa the best quality foods are exported and grade C is kept for the local population. It all comes down to money. I have never heard of buying ladybirds. Did any of them stay in your garden?

    • It is true, I’m sure,that money is the impetus behind all importing and exporting food, and I’m probably very naive to think we can make much of a shift in any policies…but I will keep trying. And at least I can make the best choices I can find. Our plant nurseries and farmer’s markets sell the containers of ladybugs in the spring and they are helpful in keeping the mite and microscopically small insect population in check. When I released them they didn’t swarm, but stayed in my garden, so I’m hopeful. If there isn’t enough for them to eat, I’m sure they won’t stay! I will keep an eye on them:-) Thank you so much for stopping by for a visit! Debra

  4. I’ve considered joining a CSA but, unlike in your state, ours — or at least the ones I checked out — only deliver about 6 months out of the year. While that is perfectly understandable, given our climate, when I need them most, they’re not around. Although I stay away from items blatantly our of season — corn, tomatoes, asparagus, for example — we’ve little choice but to buy produce that’s been shipped across country. It’s either that or wait until May/June for a fresh salad, some steamed broccoli, or roasted cauliflower. The good news: the largest farmers market in this area re-opens on Saturday. Max & I will be there bright and early. YAY!

    • I’m sure you and Max will be eager to visit your Farmers Market! I can spend a small fortune when I go and maybe that’s why the produce box is a good deal…it keeps me in check :-) Of course the eating seasonally and local is completely dictated by region. I do find myself a little cranky with friends who live in CA and don’t fully appreciate how easy it is for us! We should at least be grateful, I think. And by the way, John, this is the weekend when Jay and the guys are coming to Wrigley! They are so excited…of course they are rooting for Dodger Blue, but they also want to enjoy a little Chicago time! Hope you have a good Monday and week! Debra

      • It looks like your men-folk will get some warm weather for their game — we hope! 70’s are forecast for Friday & Saturday with a high of 65˚ for Sunday. They’re gonna love Wrigley. Even with the improvements, it’s still very much like watching the game in another era. There’s really nothing quite like watching a ball game there on a warm, sunny day. I’ve already been there twice this season and will be returning in June and at least once-a-month thereafter. I hope your guys have a great time and wonderful visit here in Chi-town. :)

  5. A great thoughtful post and I’ve enjoyed reading the responses. Like John we are limited due to seasons, but what do I do for citrus and other fruit – I buy from Europe, and stay away from out of season crops like Asparagus from Peru. But as to organic? Well that’s why I grow lots of veggies to supplement our diets (besides the loving gardening aspect) but I know for many here in the UK the price of organic veggies is huge and out of reach – I know my brother couldn’t afford to buy organic. So I don’t know what the answers are :)

    • You know, Claire, I don’t have any answers either! We do the best we can! One reason I don’t say more is because I do realize we don’t all have equal access. It is certainly a complex issue that doesn’t have one single response, but we can perhaps be advocates for the best options available. I think nothing beats what you grow in your own garden. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your wonderful garden and the way you utilize the fresh produce in your cooking. It is obvious to me that you have given a lot of thought and effort to carefully considering your best options. I also think that some of us just have a little organic gardening gnome in our spirit–ha! Debra

      • He he, I like the idea of a gardening gnome spirit :)
        I was thinking about your post when I got into conversation with a friend who I bumped into in the fruit and veg shop – neither of us could exist without eating citrus (and those have to be shipped in to us) but we both agreed that eating food in season has to be the best approach. I just wish there were more / cheaper organic options available to more people

      • It is definitely not a level playing field, Claire! After I posted my thoughts about eating locally and organic I started feeling a little self-conscious, because it isn’t all that hard for me! We have easy access. I do laugh and say that our agriculture and wonderful climate is the reward for hanging in there and staying in California…which has so many issues at times making it quite an inhospitable place! But truthfully, even among my friends and some family there isn’t awareness of all that we have, and I would like to at least instill a little gratitude! I hope your little gnome is glad you’re home :-) Debra

    • Thank you, Frank. I love “velvet hammer.” I need to keep working at that…I stay away from some topics because I do get a little rabid :-) I think that’s why I so admire the tone you consistently maintain with some of your “could-be” sensitive topics. I do enjoy a good discussion, and always hope that’s all it sounds like! Hope you have a good beginning to your week! Debra

      • Thanks for the kind words. Tone is important – as that of the commenter as well. Instead of quickly jumping down someone’s throat, most of the time I try to take the high road — well, when possible. Then again, I’ve also had commenters that I refuse to reply.

  6. I’ve not organised myself for those boxes as we are often away all summer.. yours sound so heavenly! But that spraying story!!! What a nightmare.. it almost sounds like a war story!!

    • I often think back to that spraying and wonder about it. I wonder how we didn’t revolt! I don’t know of any long term effects, so it probably was fine, but it still creeps me out! I will always be concerned about life time accumulative exposure…of course living where I do I’m probably exposed to more than I want to know about! My belief is that we do the best we can, and then have to let it go! That is probably my best coping strategy on a lot:-) Debra

  7. Gosh, Debra, an experience like that is enough to make you buy organic for ever! I don’t habitually buy organic, I must confess, but I do try to buy local produce whenever I can (not so easy in the UK) and am very careful to wash fruit and vegetables properly. Thanks for highlighting this important topic.

    • It was quite an experience, isn’t it Perpetua? I think of it often and just wonder about it, concerned we may have been an agricultural experiment. Fortunately, I have never heard of any side effects…when I google the event I don’t find very much. And in all the years I’ve only had one or two people share my concern, and that seems funny to me, too. In the meantime, we all do what we can to stay alert and to make the best available choices. I almost didn’t post my thoughts because I think in many ways I was speaking primarily to those of us who live where it is easier and less expensive to buy organic and to have variety without much sacrifice. But I do lend a bit of support to larger organizations concerned with global concerns, since we do export a lot of agriculture, too. It’s a big subject with lots of angles, and none of it is simple :-) Debra

  8. Eating organic is where Hubby and I started, it kind of spirals from there…. haha. I do agree with you though, none of us want to be sprayed, so why would we allow our produce to be? Sometimes it saddens me that it took so long to figure it out, and others I realize we are all just on a journey. Sometimes people have to see for themselves or be convicted for themselves to make changes. BTW I made some truffle butter for hubby and some friends to dip their lovely seafood in this weekend and I thought of you :)

    • Oh, Corri! Truffle butter…yum! :-) Food consciousness is certainly a personal journey and I rarely get too critical of others who aren’t necessarily as “up in arms” as I tend to be, but really when I think back to the Malathion spraying I can get very concerned about what other shortcuts might occur which could endanger us over time. On the other hand, I don’t think I need to be an alarmist…so I ask for wisdom and do te best I can to make good choices. I know you are very aware…I think you’re even more vigilant than I am! Lots to learn! Debra

  9. I buy local organic whenever I can, Debra. When I can’t, I try to buy from as close of a source as possible. Here in the midwest, many of us look forward to the start of farmers markets and the wealth of locally grown fruits and vegetables from late spring to mid-autumn. Having read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I haven’t had a commercially grown potato in several years. What a discussion we had that night!

    I think that the important this to do is buy as close to the soil as one can, and then adjust from there with the realities of climates and where one lives. My concern for inner city residents who live in virtual food deserts keeps growing. We just heard that several new farmers markets are opening in this summer in disadvantaged neighborhoods. That will be a good thing.

    A good friend and pastor from our church, Tracey Bianchi, aka the Green Mama, wrote a wonderful book about greening our lives. While its audience is young mothers, the ideas she shares are adaptable to any of us. You might want to check it out.
    http://www.amazon.com/Green-Mama-Guilt-Free-Helping-Planet/dp/0310320364

    • I’m so glad you told me about Tracey, Penny! I will definitely check her out…oh good, another book! :-) I am also concerned about the “food deserts” in our state. That’s a term that’s only very recently crossed my awareness…in fact, I was listening to something on the radio today mentioning this very matter. I think you’ve said it well with eating as close to the soil as possible. That’s a great way to see it! And of course regional differences are going to play a part in all decisions. I think what really set me off this week was the corn from Florida. That is a first! And I just don’t see any point in that! It’s all a learning process, isn’t it? I’ll let you know what I think of the Green Mama! I love that! Debra

  10. I used to have a membership in an organic farm co-op as well, and I LOVED those weekly boxes of veggies! Now they’re too far away from us, so since we can’t do it anymore, we grow our own veggies, which we also love doing. We do buy local produce and stay away from any produce from other countries, but that always leaves us with a shortage in winter. It’s still better than eating heavily contaminated produce. If an organic farm co-op opened up anywhere within an hour of us, you bet I’d be joining again!

    • That’s too bad that the co-op is so far. But growing your own is about as good as it gets :-) I think it’s a good thing for everyone just to take stock of what is best for them, and I certainly understand that regional differences are going to affect some of the options. It really was the “trans-continental corn” that set me off this time! LOL! Debra

  11. Debra, many years ago when I was living in New York, I purchased apples from New Zealand at my local grocery store. After eating one apple, I felt as if I had ingested a pesticide, so drank water. That evening, I had nightmares, and on the next day, I woke up with red patches on my legs. When I went to my holistic doc, after I told him about the strange tasting apples, right away, he asked me “they are imported from New Zealand?” Seems I was not the first one who had this allergic reaction to the pesticide. It left my body after a few days, but yikes, to think I was eating for my good health and ended up ingesting poison!

    Enjoyed reading your post, very informative and well done!

    • My goodness, Marie! That’s just awful! I’ve never heard of anyone having such a direct reaction to exposure. That would be very frightening. I think that points out to me that some people have very distinct sensitivities and we really don’t know what the overall exposure does to those of us who don’t immediately show a reaction. It’s a lot of work to watch out for ourselves, isn’t it? We need to just pay attention. That’s all I feel I have the right to say to anyone else–just pay attention and make the best choices you can! Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve never had someone else report their reaction in quite this way! Debra

    • Thanks, Andra. I just want to encourage everyone to pay attention and do the best they can to eat clean. It’s a lot of work to be on top of it, but I think if we don’t, we just aren’t getting the nutritional value we think we’re paying for! I’ll be curious to hear how you do with food on your big trip! Some of my friends have struggled a bit in China…but I don’t think they had any trouble in Hong Kong! Hope you’re having such a good time! Debra

  12. Thank you for the support! I LOVE this post! Soooo Awesome! You are so right on! I wish more Americans would start being open minded and start standing up and fighting for their health and their families health. It begins as a movement and starting with one person at a time and causing a ripple effect! Thank you again!

    • We have to stick together to keep that ripple effect going! I’m so glad you stopped by, and I can see by your wonderful blog that we have a lot in common. I’ll be stopping by often to see what you’re up to :-) Debra

    • I really liked your site, Kelly, and think we share many concerns. It’s good to have a coalition of voices who can at least keep the conversation open and current! I am a big believer in the ripple effect! :-) Debra

      • Me too! We should keep in touch, Maybe you could guest blog for me in the future or we can feed ideas and inspiration off each other. Hoping the future brings lots of fun and exciting things! Thanks again! :)

      • Thank you, Kelly. I’ve been away a couple of days and fell behind in responding back to comments. Thank you so much for your interest. Yes, let’s indeed keep in touch. I need to get more familiar with our blog, and I will! Blessings, Debra

  13. Thank you for your insightful post. We eat organic foods in my househlod and I know the difference by the way I feel and the shift in how we treat our foods… Pesticides cannot be beneficial to our system, and even if tiny traces leach in, we will never know the full longterm impact… best to choose better options.

  14. I am thinking of getting those weekly produce boxes — I get so bored with the same old same old veggies and fruit from the store. Even though we live in the chilly midwest, we try to buy as much local and organic food as possible. I’m going to check out your good linkies to get even more educated on that. Debra, you’re so thoughtful to bring all of this to us. THANK you! :-)

    • I think you’d enjoy the challenge of the produce boxes, Natalie. They sometimes throw in things I’m not sure about, but it is fun! Being in the midwest you do have a few more restrictions, but I think we all need to be at least mindful of our food supply. I think I get a little alarmed that we’re losing the nutritional value and some families have no idea. In the end we just have to do our best. I’m sure I have lot of room for improvement myself!! Debra

  15. Great post! We are part of a CSA out here and I LOVE it, it’s so nice to support local farms and know where my food is coming from. I remember as a child seeing them spray down the crops from the air… it’s scary just thinking about it! Good for you for being AWARE!!! Most are severely mislead…

    • When I was growing up there was NO awareness of the dangers of pesticides. I worry about the exposure to children. I don’t want to go around yelling “the sky is falling” but I am very concerned. I’m glad you have a CSA…I’m not new to farmer’s markets, but I am new to CSA’s and I just love them! Debra

  16. Dear Debra, . . . I am so glad when you jump on what you call your “soapbox.” I learn so much and when I’m not learning new things, I’m rethinking my choices and wondering why I’ve let myself stray from a philosophy I believe in. And so that’s what happened today with your posting on pesticides and eating food grown right here close to Independence.

    I’m wondering if you ever eat bananas? They are grown so far away and come so many miles to our grocery stores. And oranges come here from California and Florida. So Debra, do you eat only what is grown close by to where you live in California? Is that how great your commitment is? That would mean, of course, that all of us must live where food is locally grown, and I suspect that we can find that food if we search it out. Also, we can find the recipes to use with that food.

    I can see that I must get busy and take myself by the scruff of my neck and get to the local farmer’s markets!

    Finally, thank you for visiting my blog and commenting while I was gone for the month of April. I always appreciate your reflections on my postings. There is within you a wisdom that reaches across the space that separates us–you there, me here in the Mid-West. Thank you.

    Peace.

    • I enjoy connecting with you, too, Dee. Blogging makes the world a lot smaller, doesn’t it? I just read your exciting news…and I’m so happy for you. About my own dedication to eating local, I do well, but I’m far from perfect. We have such a long growing season and our farmer’s markets are year-round. Those of us living in California have NO excuse. I don’t eat bananas, but I can’t claim that’s a discipline against importing. I just don’t need them…now on the other hand, my husband DOES eat them. He has just terrible leg pains and his doctor highly recommends the bananas for potassium. So we’re not rabid or inflexible, but we are as mindful as we can be. I surely wouldn’t be buying corn imported clear across the country when in six weeks it will be plentiful right here. I really only advocate that we think about it and pay attention to the pesticides! Bless you and welcome back! Debra

  17. It is provocative when big money goes together with the authorities to hide the effects of businesses and risks of damaging the population. Unfortunately it happens again and again. In agriculture, as in any other industries. I don’t even trust a product labelled organic any more. So, yes, locally grown from a small production unit is my deal for some sort of control at least.

    • I’m certainly in agreement with you on all points, Otto, and really assume that labeling is almost always at least suspect. We can all do the best we can, and then I do think we have to let it go or we will lose all pleasure associated with cooking and eating. I don’t want that to happen! I also feel a little more responsible for being mindful because we live in a part of the world where the growing season is long, we don’t have shortages, and we should really be very grateful! Debra

  18. I love how Pinky also gets to eat organic food! I think that’s great how you are making an effort to eat locally grown food and organic food. I try to do the same. It’s so important. I’m sure the reason so many in our generation are getting terrible diseases has to have something to do with all the toxins we’re ingesting. It’s frightening when you think about it. xx

    • You know, Charlie, I didn’t want to state my concerns too loudly in my post, because I feel very fortunate to have organic produce available and affordable where I live. And I know everyone doesn’t! But I have to wonder about all the connection between “every day” toxins and disease. To me it really is frightening. And I had the tortoise Darwin at the Vet a couple of years ago and she absolutely lectured me that my pets need organic fruit and vegetables. She outlined for me how their little bodies cannot process pesticides…so we all need to just do the best we can! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this, Charlie. Debra

  19. What a lovely box of vegetables. As for the ladybugs…I wish I could send you some of mine. This time of the year they are always getting into the house. I carefully catch them and send them on their way.

  20. They sprayed us in New Zealand (Auckland I think) too, around the same time for some mosquito. in fact i think they have done it since as well.. And why would they tell you to stay inside if it was safe? the pesticides are terrible at home, so much orchard where we were. Two of my children had terrible asthma which weirdly goes away when they are overseas. not good. yet another reason why i grow my own. I always look at the perfect organic fruit in the supermarket and i have to say i am dubious. real organic produce has flaws.. c

    • Celi, That is quite suspicious to see asthma “come and go” with different environmental factors! I think somehow I’d be better able to deal with my concerns if I didn’t feel that there was no accountability. But aerial spraying of any kind of “fumigant” really disturbs me, and all I know to do is limit my exposure from other sources. And I know what you mean about “store bought” organic still looking mighty good! Some of what appears in my farm-fresh produce box isn’t all that pretty–I’ve had to explain that to my granddaughters. A non-waxy apple isn’t all that pretty! :-) But it sure tastes good. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Celi. I appreciate it. Debra

  21. Debra~thank you so much for not only your informative post, but the links as well. Due to my son’s Lupus and my husband’s weight issues we have added SO much produce to our diets in the last 2 years. Some we get at Whole Foods, some at Sprouts, and some at the Farmer’s Market. We have gotten some of the produce organic; but I think we need to start buying all organic. thanks for the post—keep posting. Some of us need to hear things REPEATEDLY (like me :-) )

    • I’m so glad you have taken the time to get informed and do what you can with good organic produce for your family. I thin it’s important for us all, but in particular if there are already some health issues. I think we should do the best we can, but I also know that sometimes it’s just not possible to go completely organic. There are definitely some softer skinned fruit and vegetables that are more of a concern than others, and then careful washing can help, too. I can swing quite alarmist from time to time and then I have to work my way back! Breathing is actually dangerous. LOL! And we all need to hear things repeatedly…I have many places in my life where I am firmly rooted in denial…believe me! Debra

  22. Well: I’m sold. Right from those beautiful pictures at the beginning. It takes a paradigm shift though, to arrange life to cook meals around seasonal veg- the right recipes at the right time, enough time to cook, experimentation with new combinations – but it sounds, from your article, as though it’s worth it.

    • You know, Kate, I think all we can do is be as aware as possible and do the best we can! It isn’t the same for all of us! I live in an agricultural mecca! Eating seasonally is easy for me if I don’t have to have asparagus in January (imported from Mexico). And I’m now cooking for two! That makes a big difference also. When my children were at home I would get on “kicks” where I’d be so good about certain disciplines…and then life would interfere! To some extent that is still going on! :-) Debra

  23. I grew up in California during the 80’s, Well I was not a kid, I was in my 20’s. I know of five people who have Fibromyalgia, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that all grew up in the same city and we all think it may be due to the spraying. Something to think about. Good for you to eat organic!

    • That’s a shocking story about your friends with auto-immune disease! I know we’ll probably never prove the correlation between the spraying and their outbreaks, but I really wonder! And that seems like an awfully large coincidence to me! Five of them? And that’s just the five you know…it’s disturbing to me. At this point I simply feel all we can do is minimize further exposure, and to take as much responsibility for our safety as we possibly can. I’m not necessarily fearful…but I am careful! Thank you so much for sharing! Debra

      • When you look at the fact that three of those are my siblings and I, it is even scarier. Now my daughter who was born in the 70’s is having health issues. Now that is even worse. The others are people I went to school with. Can we prove it? No, but as you said too many coincidences.

      • Oh my, but that’s just distressing. I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter, too, Nancy. I have several friends, too, with auto-immune diseases and each of them can point to some kind of environmental toxins as at least being present in their lives at certain points. It’s just difficult to prove causation. I think we often have a sense of things, though, and may be intuitive to our vulnerabilities. Blessings, Debra

  24. I have recently read some articles in support of chemical farming. Large scale organic farming takes an enormous amount of hand labor which slows production and is expensive and gives a 1/6 per acre crop yield without chemical fertilizer and without insecticides an insect invasion could easily wipe out 90% of the year’s crop. Organic farming could never produce enough for a world food supply and they say that there is so much non natural contaminants in our air , water and soil it makes little difference(I don’t think I believe that). Unfortunately there are no decades long studies enabling us to measure health effects of chemical farming vs organic farming to determine measurable differences re health effects. In no way am I advocating chemical farming but just relating what I have read on the matter. I would agree that if organic food is affordable and available locally that would be a wise choice to select. I remember in the 50’s and early 60’s those old box car airplanes were used to dust spray urban areas in Miami for mosquitoes. Playing outside with other children I can remember being covered with the particles and breathing the stuff as the planes flow over at very low altitudes and that certainly could not have safe effects. A side issue for me is that the US has the potential to produce many times more food than it does and yet at least one million people a day die succumbing to starvation and malnutrition re disease and farmers are paid subsidies not to plant to keep prices stable.

    • I really appreciate your very thoughtful consideration of the topic, Carl. I never think that I have the answers! Certainly not to our poor response to world famine…and I have friends here in the United States that are undernourished as a result of very low income margins. I also know that for me to have options in whether I eat organic or not is an extreme privilege. I do a lot of reading and try to stay informed of the issues of a safe food supply, and unfortunately, so much of the information tends to contradict itself…or that could just be my “little brain” struggling with the science! What I do know is that here in California we have abundance. And it frustrates me sometimes that people aren’t a whole lot more grateful, and that we get greedy and wasteful with what we’ve been given. But perhaps now I’m going off into my “other” big gripe. Waste! :-) I hope you have a good weekend, Carl! Debra

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