Organic produce is big in the food industry. But, what does organic really mean in terms of growing standards, genetic modification and increased nutrition?
Organic foods are popular these days and most homes have at least a few organic products in the pantry. But, there is some confusion over what the term “organic” really means. Are organic foods healthier and are they worth the increased price? Understanding organic can be confusing, but this guide will take the guess work out of buying organic food.
What Organic Means
Organic foods are grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, bioengineering, synthetically modified fertilizers or sewage sludge. Organic crops must be maintained separately from all other crops and organic farms must be certified. Certification can be done through the state’s agricultural department or through a properly accredited private company. Organic meat must come from animals that have not been treated with antibiotics or growth hormones.
What is an Organic Farm
Organic farms are different from conventional farms in several ways. First, organic farms are inspected to insure that the soil is maintained in an organic fashion. The inspections vary, but often look for things such as a proven dedication to natural and sustainable methods. They might look at bordering land to see if there are genetically modified or conventional crops nearby that might corrupt organic crops. Seed sources, records of harvest, sales and even storage and transportation methods are reviewed.
What Organic Food Offers
Organic food generally costs more because it’s more expensive to produce and the crops are typically smaller. There is no evidence, however, that organic food is more nutritious than conventionally grown food. However, for many people, the increased price is well worth it when it comes to avoiding chemicals like pesticides and herbicides. Organic foods are also grown in a more sustainable way, which also is a good reason to spend just a little more.
Which Organic Foods To Buy
For those watching their budget, the idea of buying expensive organic food can be daunting. However, experts agree that it is more important to buy certain foods from an organic source than others.
Foods you should always buy from an organic source include meat, milk, coffee, peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, leafy greens, grapes, carrots, pears, tomatoes and potatoes.
Foods that don’t need to be organic include onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mango, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, watermelon, broccoli and sweet potatoes.
Organic foods allow the health conscious consumer to be in control of their food choices, to bypass dangerous chemicals and support sustainable farming. And, while the nutrition from organic food might be the same as that in conventional food, it is good to know that one can avoid pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified foods by going organic. So, on your next trip to the grocery store, notice all the organic options and support organic farmers whenever you can!