Strawberries are loaded with pesticides


And top the “Dirty Dozen” list yet again:


“Strawberries once again top the annual ”Dirty Dozen” list of produce found with the most pesticides.

And once again, experts not involved in the report say they worry the list will discourage people from eating fruits and vegetables, especially people on budgets who view higher-priced organic produce as unaffordable.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization focused on human health and the environment, issues the “Dirty Dozen” report each year. EWG researchers this year found that more than 98% of samples of strawberries, along with spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries, and apples, had residue of at least one pesticide. A single sample of strawberries had 20 different pesticides.”


The complete list ranks as:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Grapes
  6. Peaches
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Celery
  11. Potatoes
  12. Sweet bell peppers


Strawberries aren’t particularly easy to grow unless you have the right climate and decent soil, a very green thumb, or lots of pesticides / chemical fertilizers.

Big Ag opts for the last of the three.

For a couple of years I had two beds of strawberries:


They produced poorly and I really didn’t work at them enough to make them worthwhile. I gave them lots of compost and foliar feeding but eventually gave up and switched to a much more productive berry.



I did learn from my friend Jo that strawberries love fish emulsion. If you feel like growing them, see if that works for you.

You can also make your own fish emulsion/fertilizer, as I share in Compost Everything.

Fish emulsion makes a lot of plants really happy. I’ve used it off and on for years. I can’t find it for sale here but plan to make my own when I get my own property. It stinks to high heavens but plants don’t have noses.

One last thing on strawberries: has anyone else noticed that despite how perfect they appear, store-bought strawberries are barely worth eating?

I don’t even get the appeal of buying strawberries. They’re watery, bitter and terrible even when they look nice and red.

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  • Your observation on how tasteless most store-bought strawberries are is why I have been buying a flat of Plant City strawberries when they are in season, and jamming them up. For a lot of things, the flavor is best when they are picked ripe and in season. I guess some things just aren’t meant to be tinkered with as much as we do.

  • Strawberries definitely prefer a cool temperate climate. Mine grow with no trouble here in the UK (making me feel less sad about the mangoes and coconuts I can’t grow). Despite the ideal climate, shop bought are still just as bad over here for most of the year.

  • christopher johnson

    It’s a shame. I am near Atlanta, and instead have 4 variety of rabbiteye blueberry, which the birds,squirrels, and resident racoon seem to love. Sometimes they will leave me a couple.

  • Even organic strawberries don’t taste very good anymore. Hard and sour.
    I have a huge “volunteer” mulberry but the birds don’t leave me a single berry. They even have their nests in it!
    But my purple asparagus is prolific right now and my new oyster mushroom.bed under the oak tree is producing lots of little shrooms, so im.happy.

  • Crazy Strawberry story…. I grew up in the pacific northwest, where the jam strawberries are grown…the kind you get from Costco. We picked and ate Hood Strawberries. They usually did not spray or do anything to the strawberries, thus we safe for kids to pick them and make money (long time ago….lots changed)…

    Fast forward years and I am temporarily living in San Diego and I go to a farmer’s market in the spring, when strawberries are just ripening naturally. They all had huge signs for sampling their strawberries, so I did and asks tons of questions. The strawberries were terrible!!!!! I finally found a grower and asked why the strawberries all tasted like water and not like good flavorful sweet berries? He said “Oh there is a guy who sells those, but he always sells out in less than an hour.” I asked why the grower did not grow the same berries? He said “Oh people want big berries instead.” I just went away shaking my head. People were voting with their money, but the grower’s were NOT listening!!!

    Another really funny thing happened as we lived on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi, I went into Walmart in January and saw small local strawberries for sale……so crazy I decided to buy some….Love local! These were what I grew up with! Oh the taste!!! I went back and bought 6 boxes so my visiting parents could have some too! That is when my Dad (grew up on a farm) told me that you can grow winter strawberries in a warm climate and he knew of farmers who did that. He said they tasted just like the ones I had gotten and they were that same taste as strawberries of my childhood. I don’t know if any of those type of strawberries are still around.

  • I bought organic strawberries at Safeway today. As usual, hard and sour and dry. Had to put maple syrup on them to make them edible. Makes me wonder if they’re being picked green and gased?

  • Yep. I resisted the temptation to buy the FL strawberries this season. They are picked ripe nearby and usually taste pretty good, but the pics of guys in hazmat spraying pesticides on strawberries are a huge turn off.
    As it happens, my chickens were excellent judges of the amount of pesticide and chemicals on produce. They would never eat any store bought strawberries. Just looked at them, gave them a quick taste, shook their heads and never touched them again. Same thing with store bought lettuce and spinach. However, they would mow the lettuce and greens to the nubs in my garden, and eat the inside of watermelon rinds.

    You gotta be concerned when something that eats giant palmetto roaches turns its nose up and won’t touch a strawberry.

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