By Christy Milan

The weather in Northern California is giving way to a beautiful spring. The outdoors calls for us to explore and enjoy. You can find Rodeo’s, Pet Expo’s, Wine Tasting and of course the yearly Norcal Boat Sports and RV Show, just to name a few. These events make it a great time to pack up a lunch or a few snacks and head out to the many activities that our region offers.  Fruits and vegetables are a wonderful way to enjoy the season and get the energy you need for your adventure. Unfortunately, pesticide residues can still be on the fruits/vegetables. Buying organic is not always an option for the budget, however there are a few things you can do to make the budget go farther.

Every year the USDA tests produce samples for pesticide residues (washed and/or peeled). uses these findings to rank each fruit/vegetable according to highest pesticide residues. They have made a list named Dirty 12. They are ranked with the worst pesticides as #1. Currently, strawberries have the worst findings of pesticides. Another list is the Clean 15. This list is the opposite and consists of fruits/vegetables with the least amount of pesticides. Currently, avocadoes are the cleanest with the least amount of pesticides. For more information on pesticides and chemicals in products, go to

                 Dirty 12

1. Strawberries                         7. Cherries

2. Apples                                   8. Spinach

3. Nectarines                           9. Tomatoes

4. Peaches                              10. Sweet Bell Peppers

5. Celery                                 11. Cherry Tomatoes

6. Grapes                               12. Cucumbers

Also high ranking •  Hot Peppers •  Kale/ Collard Greens

                 Clean 15

1. Avocadoes                              9. Papayas

2. Sweet Corn                          10. Kiwi

3. Pineapples                           11. Eggplant

4. Cabbage                               12. Honeydew Melon

5. Sweet Peas (frozen)           13. Grapefruit

6. Onions                                 14. Cantaloupe

7. Asparagus                            15. Cauliflower

8. Mangoes