Informed consumers of today have learnt to question many things – one of which is the origins of their food. How different is organic produce from the regular ones? And why are they better?
Organic Produce vs. Regular Produce
While we may have already covered what defines organic food, many consumers are still interested in finding out the main difference between organically grown produce and regular fresh produce – the unprocessed foods. Take a stroll down the supermarket aisle and many won’t even be able to tell the difference apart from the ‘organic’ label.
When it comes to appearances, both organic and regular produce look almost identical. In fact, many uninformed grocery shoppers tend to overlook organic produce because they look ‘unappetizing’ and ‘imperfect’ as compared to their regular counterparts.
For example, organic apples may be irregularly shaped or smaller than the regular ones. Or a head of organic lettuce may contain some stains or even pest marks.
Irregularities and imperfection in nature is, well, perfectly natural. Research has shown that ‘perfect-looking’ fruits and vegetables is a sure sign of chemical use. Conventional agriculture uses pesticides and chemicals for many reasons, and one of them is to enhance the appearance of these produce.
So the next time you think something fresh looks too good to be true – don’t be fooled!
While it has been said many times before, this fact cannot be reiterated enough – organic produce does not contain chemicals or any genetically modified organisms. (See also: Breaking Down GMOs)
Many conventional agriculture supporters have argued that pesticides are harmless, but the fact remains that these chemicals can be absorbed into the produce and leave trace residues. Different farmers use different chemicals on their produce for various reasons including enhancing their appearance and making them stay fresh for longer periods of time. When you consume these fruits and vegetables, you are also ingesting these toxic chemicals.
Numerous studies and research has shown that organic produce contains higher levels of nutrients. In 2007, a Newcastle University (UK) study reported that organic fruits and vegetables boasted up to 40% more nutrients including vitamin C, zinc and iron among many others.
The difference comes from not only the soil fertility but also the quality of the compost used in growing these organic crops. Another key reason to these power-packed crops is that they are given time to ripen.
“With organic methods, the nitrogen present in composted soil is released slowly and therefore plants grow at a normal rate, with their nutrients in balance. Vegetables fertilised with conventional fertilisers grow very rapidly and allocate less energy to develop nutrients.” – Alyson Mitchell, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis.
Images from bodybuilding.com, kcrw.com, measuredword.typepad.com, ricehoppers.net