The New York Times, in case you missed it, offered five ways to go organic. It’s a kind of prioritization of guilt and anxiety, if you will. The list is: milk, potatoes, peanut butter, ketchup, apples. If you can’t do organic all the time, do it for those five products. (I’d add meat right off the bat. Hormones? Pass.)
381 people have weighed in with their comments, and a surprising number of them centered around the belief–and I do mean "belief"–that organic peanut butter, particularly the grind-your-own kind, may be contaminated with an allegedly harmful fungus called aflatoxin. The poor NYT writer finally jumped into the comments and promised to do some research and weigh in at a future date.
Other commenters protested the kid-centric nature of the list. Peanut butter? Ketchup? What’s next, juice boxes and nuggets? But nonetheless, there may be some rationale for prioritizing. If you can’t always buy organic, where do you draw the line? For me, it’s strawberries, and it’s completely irrational. Those little fruits are so soft and so un-peelable that I just imagine them soaking up methyl bromide like a sponge. (Strawberry growers are researching alternatives, but they still demand exemption from the methyl bromide ban).
I also think about those crops that are so close to organic it hardly matters. Wine, for one. I’ve talked to many winemakers who are organic except for the use of sulfites as a preservative. Many winemakers don’t want to use chemicals on their crop because it will affect the delicate bouquet of the wine. So do I care about the label? Not much.
What about you? Is it all or nothing? Do you prioritize? Operate on whim? Grow your own?