Organic vs. conventional produce: Cost of the dirty dozen

The past several months, I’ve been dancing along the line between better-for-your-health and better-for-my-pocketbook food. The following ‘Dirty Dozen’ are the produce found to contain the most pesticides. I’m aiming to buy organic for these items, so how much more does one have to pay to do that?

These are the best prices I’ve found for conventional and organic produce in the St. Paul area. Because produce prices vary so much by time of season, this is a list of what produce goes for in early August, whether it’s advertised as regular price, sale or a in-ad coupon. For items with several varieties, I just chose what I typically buy and noted what it is.


I checked online for Byerly’s and, checked two weeks of weekly ads for ALDI, Eisenberg’s, Kowalski’s and Rainbow and walked through Cub and Knowlan’s. I relied on others for the rest of the prices. So it is very possible that you’ll find cheaper things elsewhere, and if you do, please let me know. I haven’t gotten any prices from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

FYI: The “Clean 15,” which were found to have little to no traces of pesticides and therefore aren’t as important (for your health, not the planet’s) to buy organic are:

  • onions
  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onions

3 comments for “Organic vs. conventional produce: Cost of the dirty dozen

  1. Gillian
    August 13, 2010 at 10:17 am

    I have often thought about doing this and yet never have. I buy organic for the things I thing are most valuable, such as dairy (obviously in my case) and produce that you eat the skin of. WE once had representatives from the Organic Center at work and they handed out a handy wallet card that lists which carry more pesticides and such wich I refer to when I think of it.

    Remind me at the end of the month, if you want organically grown pototoes I can hook you up.

  2. August 19, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    At we deliver premium organic fruit direct to your home. All the fruit that is on the dirty dozen list we deliver to your home, work or school at some point in the year. Pesticide can’t be peeled off. The pesticides used today are systemic pesticide and circulate throughout the entire plant. Every organic choice we make is better for us, farm workers, and our environment. We are locally owned an operated in Stillwater, Minnesota. We are now delivering the most delicious organic Colorado peaches grown by Brant and Carol.

  3. Lydia Daugherty
    August 22, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Thanks for the comparative list of the dirty dozen. You can often get bell peppers for under $3 a piece at Super Target. I find Byerly’s to be extremely expensive. I will by the heirloom tomatoes from them because a friends hubby grows them. :)

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