It's Fresh Veggie Time!

Sharon J Cole

It’s Fresh Veggie Time!!


What a great time of year for home grown vegetables—without the chemicals sprayed on them.


I’m pretty sure you know that almost all conventionally grown vegetables have been sprayed.  I wondered what they had been sprayed with, so I checked it out.  Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and preservatives or wax coatings.


Fortunately we can grow vegetables ourselves using no pesticides, or very little.  And even if you have very little space, they are now making all kinds of things to help people in the tiniest spaces, to grow vegetables.


Here in our little town, we have the neatest farmer’s market three days a week.  It’s so exciting to me to go there and see all those beautiful fresh vegetables and fruits!  The berries are beautiful!  They also have home-made bread (even sourdough) and other delicious looking baked goodies.  And the bonus is you get to visit with the people who bring the food.  I love it!


And did you know that you can go to and see farms and other places near you that sell fresh food?  Even places in our little town are listed there.


Some people say the “organic” labeling means nothing.  It’s really a question of “organic” vs. “pesticides and synthetic fertilizers”.  So is it worth the cost, to get organic?  Does it really make a difference?


Food labeled “certified organic” means the soil quality has a maintenance and improvement quality it must adhere to, including prevention of ground and surface water contamination.  Organic practices use natural mulching, crop rotation, and using the benefit of insects to control pests without pesticides.


Why do we use so much pesticides in our typical American vegetable farming?  Higher yield of the crops.  But they contaminate the soil, the air, ground and surface water, and the plants and animals that come in contact with these contaminants, even miles and miles from where it is actually used.  Pesticides also reduce soil fertility, which makes it necessary to use more synthetic fertilizers.


The recent studies show that organic food truly is healthier.  The USDA has found that organically grown food contains more beneficial compounds, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  All those are needed to combat diseases.


How do pesticides get into our bodies? Through skin, inhalation, and ingestion.  


Long-term exposure can cause serious health problems for the farmers who apply them.  Other people are affected by drinking contaminated water, and eating contaminated marine life.


How do those pesticides affect our health?  Pesticides have been linked to neurological disorders, endocrine and reproductive disorders, immune system deficiencies, and cancer.


According to the World Health Organization, acute pesticide poisoning is responsible for significant annual mortality.


Small farms usually can’t afford the certification process to be considered “certified organic”, which makes it important to buy from someone you know, or someone who is known in your area so you can know the processes they use.  Local farmers markets are in no way a guarantee of organic food, but I figure the likelihood of it being much better than traditional commercially farmed food, is great.


If you must buy typically farmed groceries at typical grocery outlets, it is good to know which fruits and vegetables are the best and worst.  The Environmental Working Group ( puts out a couple of lists that are a guideline of the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15”.  These lists are based on the amount of pesticides these foods are typically exposed to, and how easily absorbable the food is.  (You can also visit to learn more about our environment.)

(Guide to Pesticides in Produce)

1.     Strawberries

2.     Spinach

3.     Kale, collard & mustard greens

4.     Peaches

5.     Pears

6.     Nectarines

7.     Apples

8. Grapes

9. Bell & hot peppers

10. Cherries

11. Blueberries

12. Green beans





What about dairy, and the use of growth hormones and antibiotics in cattle?


The pesticides are chemicals that are essentially poisons used to kill some type of pest.  “Organic” means it meets government standards.  Livestock management, including dairy cattle used for production of Organic Milk, must comply with these regulations. Organic milk, meat and eggs are free of hormones given to conventionally grown livestock and poultry.


Does this mean no pesticides are used?  Unfortunately, no.  Pesticides could be used for the food crops fed to the dairy cows.  The standards prohibit the use of certain chemicals.  This is a good thing to know. 


Organophosphate are an insecticide (that can affect nerve function).  It is banned for residential use, but they are used in agriculture for food crops that dairy cattle may ingest.


In 2010, a study by a University in Columbia found that all milk samples collected contained pesticides.  A 2011 study by the University of California at Davis came to the similar conclusion.  The impacts of long term consumption needs more study.




What about chicken?  When you have 30,000 or so chickens housed inside a conventional mass-production farm, you can understand the desire for buying free-range chicken, where the chickens actually can walk around outside in the sunlight and fresh air.  These things affect human health and they also affect animals.


Again, if you can buy a chicken from a farm you know, that’s the best option.  The rule for “free range” label is vague.  It can mean “outdoor access” which could consist of a small cement slab on the side of a barn.  However, the term organic now covers pasture access.  Organic here means the chickens are not continuously confined, and that they actually forage on pasture (where they can eat small amounts of vegetation and grass-dwelling insects, both of which provide nutrients.


The USDA does not allow hormones to be used in raising chickens at all, and the organic certificate means the producer actually proved that no hormones were given.


A study at the University of Perugia, Italy, found that chickens given access to the outdoors, encouraged movement which encouraged muscle growth, and discouraged fat accumulation, which means a leaner, meatier chicken.  Sounds good to me!


There is good clean food out there to be had.  Yeah, I know, it costs more.  But you just have to think about how much of that poison your body is taking in if you don’t eat the better quality food.


When I began my quest for health several years ago, I eliminated everything I felt could contribute a toxin in my body (food, lotions, cosmetics, nail polish, etc), and in our home (household cleansers, laundry soap and softener, furniture polish, etc).  It was major change all the way around.  But at that time I was “ill”; and without medicine, I’m not ill anymore.


It’s one of those choices that we have.  I think organic, even though it may not be perfect, is a wise choice.  And I think local is the best way to go—for all the food we can get


We have a small garden—it’s usually a challenge for us but this year we seem to be staying on top of it so far.  I’d like to give a great big thank you to my husband for his diligent work toward that little garden, when “I don’t have time”.


I’d like to thank my husband for his diligent work in our little garden, when “I don’t have time”.  And


I’d like to recognize all Fathers, and every single male that gives of himself to mentor or encourage a young person.  Thank You.  These young people need YOU for sure—even more than they need organic food!


Happy Father’s Day!


Be Well.


Love to you all; see you next time!



Meet Sharon

Sharon is the founder of Where is Your Calm, and is dedicated to the wellness of every client she has. She graduated from the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy in 2019 and has been doing group coaching and individual coaching since then.

Sharon is a caring haven for people of all ages to address their overwhelm and overwork, helping them to improve their life with small changes in their lifestyle and nutrition habits. She regularly attends classes and training to keep up with the most innovative practices to address her clients' needs.  

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