What is organic produce?
The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products. Organic farming practices encourage soil and water conservation, and reduce pollution. Farmers growing organic produce do not use chemical fertilizers, insecticides or chemical herbicide to fertilize or control weeds and insects. Instead, they apply natural fertilizers, rely on insects and birds, mating disruptions, or traps to reduce pests and disease. They also rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.
How do I know if something is Organic?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established an organic certification program that requires all organic food to meet government standards. Any farmer or food manufacturer who labels and sells a product as organic must be USDA certified as meeting these standards. Producers who sell less than $5,000 a year in organic foods are exempt from obtaining this certification.
What does the USDA Organic seal mean?
The USDA Organic seal assures consumers of the quality and integrity of organic products. Organic-certified operations must have an organic system plan and records that verify compliance with that plan. Operators are inspected annually in addition there are random checks to assure standards are being met.
Why does organic produce cost more?
Organic produce often costs more than non-organic. Higher prices are due to more expensive farming practices, tighter government regulations and lower crop yields. Some people buy organic food for environmental reasons. Organic farming practices are designed to benefit the environment by reducing pollution and conserving water and soil quality.
Does Organic food taste better?
Taste is definitely an individual matter, but hundreds of gourmet chefs across the nation are choosing organic food to prepare because they believe it has superior taste and quality.
An increasing number of consumers are also of the opinion that organic food tastes better. Because organic food is grown in well-balanced soil, it makes sense that these healthy plants have a great taste. Try organic food for yourself and see what you think!
Myth: Organic food is too expensive.
Fact: In general, organic food costs more than conventional food because of the laborious and time-intensive systems used by the typically smaller organic farms. You may find that the benefits of organic agriculture off-set this additional cost. Consider the following when questioning the price of organic:
- The price of conventional food does not reflect the cost of environmental cleanups that we pay for through our tax dollars.
- Organic farming is more labor and management intensive.
- The price of conventional food does not reflect the true cost which was heavily subsidized by the government programs.
Myth: Eating organic food is the same as eating natural food.
Fact: Natural foods do not contain additives or preservatives, but they may contain ingredients that have been grown with pesticides or are genetically modified. In other words, the ingredients in the ingredient panel will look familiar, but they have not been produced organically. Natural foods are not regulated and do not meet the same criteria that organic foods do.