Purchase from Local, Organic Farmers – the Best Way to Avoid Pesticide Residues in Vegetables
Winter is the peak vegetable production season in Hong Kong and the South China region. While we
are enjoying a wide choice of fresh produce, there is a need to be alert of pesticide residual problems
which are commonly seen in vegetables that are not produced organically. Today, Agriculture Officers
of Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG) conducted a public talk at the Central Farmers’ Market
in Central Star Ferry Pier about ‘ways to avoid pesticide residues in non-organic vegetables’. With a
focus on popular winter crops, the talk aimed to provide consumers food safety tips to reduce the risk.
‘Produces from local, organic farms are always the best choices,’ said Mr. Yip Tsz Lam, KFBG’s
Senior Agriculture Officer. KFBG has been running the weekly Central Farmers’ Market at the Star
Ferry Pier since 2007 to offer a fair-trade platform to bridge mutual support between local, organic
farmers and consumers. The platform enable farmers to enjoy a fairer return for their hard work and
allow consumers to access locally grown, organic greens.
‘The timing for planting, sowing and harvesting periods of crops in specific agro-ecological zones is
regulated by the weather patterns and pest cycles. From the perspective of farmers, respecting the
nature rhythm means less external inputs are required for pest control, fertilizing and crop protection.
From the perspective of consumers, consuming crops in season helps them to avoid the riskiest crops’
said Yip. ‘For example, Cruciferous vegetables, such as flowering cabbage, white cabbage and mustard
leaf, are prone to the damage of striped flea beetle that is active in December to February - this is the
time when conventional (non-organic) farmers have higher incentive to apply pesticide more
extensively,’ Yip added.
Ways for consumers to avoid pesticide residues in vegetables are summarized in four key points:
1. WHERE to buy?
Whenever possible, choose organically-grown greens and purchase directly from
local, organic farmers at Farmers Markets or the retailers which source produces from local trustworthy
suppliers. This is particularly important if you are consuming vegetables raw as salad. More
information about farmers market in Hong Kong can be viewed at: https://www.kfbg.org/eng/Low-
2. WHAT to buy?
Choose crops that are in season. Winter is the peak vegetable production season
for local farmers and it is the best time to enjoy spinach, celery, chive, broccoli, lettuce and many
others. During the public talk, KFBG officers demonstrated creative use of cauliflower, a crop in
season, in different ways. Information about crops of different seasons and the recipes can be
viewed at http://www.lowcarbonliving.hk/eng/SeasonalCrops.aspx and
3. HOW to prepare?
Always wash vegetables thoroughly before consuming, especially leafy greens
or vegetables that are more prone to pest damage such as tomato, flowering cabbage and Chinese
kale, and especially if you have bought non-organic vegetables.
4. WHY accept imperfect?
The Ugly Food Movement is taking off around the world as a campaign
against food waste. In fact accepting imperfect looking food is a means to stay away from the
synthetic chemicals that are applied to preserve the look of food products (to make more money)
rather than to improve food quality.
About the Central Famers Market:
Date: Every Sunday
Time: 11am – 5pm
Venue: Central Ferry Pier No.7
Organiser: Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, in collaboration with a group of organic farmers
in Hong Kong
Public enquiry: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cindy Luk, Communication Officer of KFBG
Tel: 2483 7270