One can never be 100% sure of organic fruits or vegetables unless they buy them from the grocery store, in which the USDA or other organization will have stamped the label/package, or grow the product themselves. It is a good idea no matter where the produce was purchased to wash it before consumption which helps reduce surface contaminants. Since most anyone can sell produce at open air markets and there aren’t strict regulations as there are with commercial selling, you’ll just have to trust what they say.
Based on USDA regulations, small farmers who sell their crops at markets and make less than $5,000 are not regulated when it comes to their organic labels. That is, no one from the USDA is coming to inspect them if they claim organic. But, they are required to adhere to regulations and can be fined up to $10,000 if they are caught violating organic regulations. As mentioned above, it is always best to get to know the people who produce the food you buy and maybe even discuss their methods. Back in the day, people bought food from people they knew well, and often were familiar with the farm that grew the food. This is an important aspect of healthy produce shopping- getting to know the farmer and the farm.
While it is easy to tell whether or not your produce is organic by the sticker, there is also some produce in markets that is labeled (IPM), which stands for Integrated Pest Management. These farms will use pesticides (mostly natural and eco-friendly), if faced with large economic consequences from the loss of a crop. The only way to know if any pest management was used, and what type would be to ask the farmer.
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