Strawberries Top this Year’s Dirty Dozen List

Strawberries Top this Year’s Dirty Dozen List

  • posted on: May 16, 2016
  • posted by: 21 Acres
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The Environmental Working Group released the 2016 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list a few weeks ago.  For the first time in 5 years, apples have been eclipsed at the top of the Dirty list.  Unfortunately this is not because apples are any cleaner, it is because many of the strawberries available for sale are dirtier than ever.  According to USDA tests, “strawberries are the fresh produce items most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, even after they are picked, rinsed in the field and washed before eating.”  What’s more, to sterilize the fields before planting strawberries, conventional growing tactics including spraying and injecting large amounts of poisonous gasses into the soil.  This kills weeds, pests, and pretty much any living organism that exists in the soil.  (Click here for EWG’s full article on strawberries.).

Choosing to buy Organic berries, or from berry farmers committed to keeping their land free from any chemicals, is a healthy choice for yourself and our planet.  The Farm Market at 21 Acres works with a handful of farmers who are experts at growing delicious strawberries free of any chemical sprays or poisonous gases.  One of their secrets is to go with the flow of nature, which means planting, cultivating and harvesting in season.  I spoke with Jesus Gonzalez of Tualco Valley Farm last week.  Jesus thinks our warm Spring weather could result in ripe strawberries as soon as the last week of May.  With the goodness of seasonal berries on their way, it is time to dust off your canning pot and call in recruits to help with the processing.  Or, if water-bath canning isn’t your cup of tea, consider the easy recipe below for no sugar freezer jam.

Email or speak with the Farm Market staff about reserving a flat or five of strawberries for your canning needs and eating pleasure (bulk discounts apply).  The best flavors come and go before we know it so now is the time to enjoy to the fullest.

Stop by the Farm Market for a printed copy of this year’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists.  Or, check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean Living Apps from EWG for a lot more produce information and helpful tips on food, beauty and cleaning products.

— Liesl McWhorter, Farm Market Manager


No Sugar Strawberry Freezer Jam

From the Ball no sugar pectin package


3 lbs strawberries, stems removed

1 ¾ apple juice

1 ½ package no sugar pectin


Mash the strawberries in a large bowl.  In a small saucepan, whisk the apple juice and pectin and bring to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute.  Pour the liquid into the mashed strawberries and stir for 1 minute.  Ladle into freezer-safe containers (be sure to leave ½” of space on top) and place in the refrigerator overnight to let in cool slowly and set.  Store in the freezer for up to a year and in the fridge for 3 weeks.