Some Tips on How to Pick Organic

I tend to go by the norm look for the label which says USDA Organic certified like the picture below. Natural or non-gmo etc do not mean Organic, mostly if a producer knows his produce is organic and he uses organic farming methods chances are he will write ORGANIC on his produce.

The USDA website says Products certified 95 percent or more organic display this USDA sticker. Do remember this is a voluntary seal which most Organic producers use.

As per the USDA what makes the organic food different from regular produce is the following criteria:

Here are other differences between conventional farming and organic farming:

Conventional farmers Organic farmers
Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth. Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
Spray insecticides to reduce pests and disease. Use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
Use chemical herbicides to manage weeds. Rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.
Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth. Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing — to help minimize disease.

So when setting out to buy organic one way to do it is head to one of the major grocery chains and look for the organic section, or else head to a grocer who stores more organic food. I tend to shop at Trader Joe’s nominal prices, good selection and it still kind of has a small store feel to it which is not overwhelming.

Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Farmers who grow organic produce and meat don’t use conventional methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease. For example, rather than using chemical weedkillers, organic farmers conduct sophisticated crop rotations and spread mulch or manure to keep weeds at bay.

When it comes to products sometimes it gets kinda tricky- some producers certify their products organic while others say 100% organic, you will need to read the labels to figure out what ingredient in the mix is organic and what is not.USDA guidelines are as follows :

  • 100 percent organic. Products that are completely organic or made of all organic ingredients.
  • Organic. Products that are at least 95 percent organic.
  • Made with organic ingredients. These are products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients. The organic seal can’t be used on these packages.

Some simple steps which don’t much affect your wallet and monthly budget are growing your own vegetables during summer (squashes, tomatoes etc flourish and are readily available to buy), Farmers market – you get fresh produce from the source and you help the local economy what can be better?

While deciding on Organic decide which is best for you, considering nutrition, quality, taste, cost and other factors. Each of us have to make decisions based on our circumstances.

  • Nutrition. No conclusive evidence shows that organic food is more nutritious than is conventionally grown food. And the USDA — even though it certifies organic food — doesn’t claim that these products are safer or more nutritious.
  • Quality and appearance. Organic foods meet the same quality and safety standards as conventional foods. You may find that organic fruits and vegetables spoil faster because they aren’t treated with waxes or preservatives.
  • Pesticides. Some people buy organic food to limit their exposure to these residues. Most experts agree, however, that the amount of pesticides found on fruits and vegetables poses a very small health risk.
  • Environment. 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.
  • Cost. Most organic food costs more than conventional food products. Higher prices are due to more expensive farming practices, tighter government regulations and lower crop yields. Because organic farmers don’t use herbicides or pesticides, many management tools that control weeds and pests are labor intensive. For example, organic growers may hand weed vegetables to control weeds, and you may end up paying more for these vegetables.
  • Taste. Some people say they can taste the difference between organic and nonorganic food. Others say they find no difference. Taste is a subjective and personal consideration, so decide for yourself. But whether you buy organic or not, finding the freshest foods available may have the biggest impact on taste.Source for the information USDA FDA website

Check out this video on Organic farming from the Boggy Creek farms in Autin Texas.

The following vegetables are the ones with the most pesticide residues there for going organic for those might be a good choice:

  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Sweet Bell Peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Lettuce
  9. Grapes – Imported
  10. Pears
  11. Spinach
  12. Potatoes

I had been to the local farmers market yesterday and was amazed to see how fast most of the produce disappeared! It is indeed a pleasure to be able to talk to the person/people who work hard and produce what we consume.

Some Organic farmers markets have been put together here
Live Green!
Check out this link too for more info

a good read –

The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming (New York Review Books Classics)

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