The Dirty Dozen

Ever heard of the “The Dirty Dozen”? It’s a list of the most harmful produce you can buy when you don’t buy organic.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are supposed to be one of the best ways to obtain nutrients that support optimum health. However, with the use of pesticides on common produce; you can actually be doing more harm than good. In animal studies, pesticides have been linked to disruptions in the normal functioning of the nervous and endocrine system, and increased risks of cancer. By eating these contaminated foods, you could be introducing your body to the same disruptions. When you choose organic options instead of the conventionally grown produce, you are allowing your body to receive the healthy benefits that come from whole foods the way Mother Earth intended.

At Milk & Honey we are dedicated to providing more mindful options when enjoying cocktails. When we think of popular drinks like the Apple Martini, made in most cases using premium vodka, all other ingredients tend to take a back seat. Popular among women, the Apple Martini is a cocktail usually prepared with some sort of artificial apple flavoring or canned apple juice. Taste wise the alcohol content is considerably robust, without any tartness or sweetness to balance it out. It’s then topped off with an artificial cherry for garnishment. That doesn’t sound like a cocktail we would want to drink.

Listed below are brief descriptions of The Dirty Dozen. These are 12 produce that should be purchased organic, to avoid the consumption of pesticide chemicals.



Know for its protective effects likely due to their high concentration of anti-inflammatory flavonoids. This fruit however is typically sprayed with pesticides that can be found even in apple juice and applesauce.


Known to have the highest antioxidant content of the 60 fruits and vegetables analyzed in a study at Tufts University. Antioxidants in blueberries have the ability to reduce free radical damage to the body’s cells. Cultivated blueberries are often heavily sprayed with chemicals. Seeking organic, wild-grown versions are suggested.


Here’s a big one. Conventional strawberries are sprayed with massive amounts of chemicals. Farmers typically use fungicide on strawberries as this soft bodied fruit is prone to fungi attack. Washing doesn’t help much since the surface of the strawberries where the seeds lye is like small crater like areas for the chemicals to reside in. This results in a very toxic fruit with over 54 different pesticide residues.


A rich source of antioxidants which can block oxidation reactions that can damage cells. Conventionally grown grapes, even raisins, are prone to increased levels of pesticides.


According to many reports, celery is the worst offender on this list and has ranked near the top for several years. Avoid conventionally grown celery whenever possible.


Provide different kinds of antioxidants. They are also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and zinc. When eating conventionally grown peaches however, you could be exposing yourself to some of the highest concentrations of pesticides. Go organic.


Containing nearly twice the iron of other leafy greens, making it one of the most available plant based sources of iron. It’s also an excellent source of folic acid, potassium and magnesium, as well as vitamins such as vitamin K and vitamin C. This leafy vegetable of goodness often has high levels of pesticide residue and tests conducted show that frozen and canned spinach can contain as much pesticide as fresh spinach.

Bell peppers

This vegetable contains a variety of nutrients and vitamins depending on the color and maturity of the pepper. Red peppers are usually the sweetest and contain the highest levels of antioxidants. The vitamin C content of red peppers is twice the amount of green peppers. Growing bell peppers at home can drastically cut your risk of pesticide exposure, as they are relatively easy to grown.


Similar to peaches but with a smooth skin instead of a fuzzy coating. And like peaches, they offer a variety of antioxidants for your health. This sweet fruit unfortunately is among the most contaminated fruit trees. Whether imported or domestic, pesticide residue is usually present.


“Cool as a cucumber” isn’t just a metaphor. The inner temperature of growing cucumbers can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the surrounding air. A member of the same botanical family as melons and squashes and a rich source of vitamin K, they are unfortunately often high is pesticide residue.


Although tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that studies have shown may help with prostate health; they are also full of pesticides.

Snap peas

A good source of vitamin C and fiber, however, imported varieties often contain pesticide residue.


The fibrous skin of the potato and the layer directly beneath contains most of the nutrients. Potatoes contain vitamins and nutrients including vitamins B6 and C, niacin, potassium, iron, magnesium and pantothenic acid. Although they grown underground, they may still have high levels of pesticides.

Hot peppers

Contains large amounts of vitamin C and is delicious accompaniment to any meal or in our case a cocktail like the Bloody Mary. However, they also contain large amounts of pesticide residue and only the organic varieties should be eaten.

Many of the produce in The Dirty Dozen are consumed on a daily bases and aren’t being purchased or consumed with health and planet in mind. Some if not most consumers aren't even aware that their favorite fruit has been contaminated. The use of pesticides also contributes to the contamination of soil and ground water. When choosing organic, you’re not only thinking of you, but those around you. We find our celebrations are more fulfilling when participating in a more conscious manner.

Using fresh juices, mixers, and garnishes from organic fruits and vegetables in your cocktails can be a positive alternative when celebrating with friends and family. Not only to avoid harmful chemicals when honoring your favorite holiday but, also for a truly fresh and delicious cocktail.

Milk & Honey will happily prepare and provide the fresh organic options you will need to complete your bar at your private parties and events. A complete Milk & Honey bar package can really wow your party guest with alternative solutions to enjoying cocktails. You and your guest will not only love the freshness of your cocktails, but the added benefits as well.