A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Washington DC and stopping at the farmers' market at the Foggy Bottom metro stop.
A farmer there had tempting peaches -- the first I'd seen this season. My mouth was watering. I asked if the peaches were organic.
He replied: "they're not organic, ma'am. We farm sustainably."
Huh? Clearly my definition of sustainble differed from his.
So I asked another question: Do you know what the peaches are sprayed with?
The young farmer referred me to an older farmer to his right. He asked if I had 30 minutes.
I had as long as he wanted to take to explain his growing methods. But it turned out he only needed about 30 seconds to tick off four (FOUR!) pesticides and a fungicide. Needless to say, I passed on the peaches.
Sustainable has no legal definition. It sounds good, but if you want peaches without harmful synthetic pesticides, choose those from a farmer you know and trust who can assure you they haven't been sprayed. Or, look for those bearing the organic label.
Too many farmers tell me they can't grow peaches without spray. But have they really tried?
Thankfully, I found ONE farmer at my local market in Missouri who doesn't spray his peaches. He was delightfully surprised by how well they did.
When I saw him this year I shook his hand and thanked him for not spraying. Then I purchased 3 baskets -- one to eat and share, the other two to freeze for dark and dreary winter days ahead.
As consumers we have to help farmers know that we'll happily purchase less than "perfect" peaches if it means avoiding a dose of pesticide residue.
Farmers will deliver what their customers want.
I've got a new article posted on Organic Valley's website on pesticides. Read it and you'll know why I'd sooner do without peaches, than eat those that have been sprayed.
Eat well and think critically.