Why you should try to use organic food in your recipes

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Around here you see a lot of articles and recipes calling for organic ingredients, you probably wonder why. Sometimes it is difficult to get organic ingredients so my feeling is that you should do your best to use the most naturally grown and prepared organic ingredients in all your dishes that you can reasonably accomplish and forget the rest. As long as you are doing your best that is all anyone can ask.

But, I want to explain why organic is best when you can get it. You might have noticed your grocery starting to carry what they call, “conventionally” grown and “organic” products. Essentially conventionally means pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, and antibiotics were used in their farming practices.

Organic means that the farmer uses the most natural practices possible using compost, and the science of beneficial insects and or birds to reduce pests. They allow their animals to eat organic feed and to go outdoors. Rather than antibiotics to fight disease they keep their housing clean and feed appropriately balanced diets to the animals.

Only products that are completely organic can carry the USDA seal. Non-single-ingredient products that have most of their ingredients, 95 percent can say Organic, products made with mostly, 70 percent organic, can say Made with organic ingredients. Labels that say “all-natural”, “free-range” or “hormone-free” may or may not also be organic. These labels are good so that you know what you’re buying.

So why buy organic? Here are some reasons that I believe are true:

• Organic tastes better
• Organic is more nutritious
• Organic has no pesticides
• Organic is best for the environment
• Organic often supports local farmers

Whether or not you can afford to purchase all organic ingredients remember that one small change helps whether it’s just that you want to support a local farmer, or whether you are worried about contaminants in your child’s food.

0 Responses

  1. Growing your own food is a great way to get organic produce at a cheaper price. Then you really know how it’s grown. And you get the benefit of time spent outdoors and a chance to move!

    I started with a few containers of tomatoes and peppers. Now most of my backyard, small as it is, is a vegetable garden. Great for kids too. Mine grew up being able to walk out the door and munch grape tomatoes and green beans just picked off the plant.

    1. That’s how I grew up. We had a large garden. My Mom couldn’t find me one day and came to the garden and found me asleep among the beans…and that’s when the fight started….lol…

      1. We’ve done a CSA for the past few years. And there is nothing like a visit to the local farmer’s market.
        I need the things I don’t have room to grow!

  2. If you go to farmers’ markets and see the logo “Certified Naturally Grown” (CNG), you can trust that it is organic. CNG is a certification program that conforms to all the production and method standards of the USDA’s Organic program. Many of us smaller, local farmers are going this way and dropping the USDA’s program that has been relaxing ingredient, and animal treatment standards for large corporate and agribusiness interests. We CNG farmers grow out of principles concerning health, and not just to make a buck.

    1. When the locals farmers around Salem, Or. are ready, they bring produce to local outdoor markets. LOVE them…a bit more expensive that big stores…but who knows how long THERE products were in transit and if they were truly local. Local SA*E W*YS comes to mind. Not as much organics there as F*ed M*yer*…
      Still more expensive. It’s said to wash organics too in veggie wash. I would if I could. Meanwhile some thing is moving in my gut…YIPES! lol

    2. Whole Foods supports many of these locally organic farmers who don’t have the money to pay for all the red tape to become “certified” by the USDA, but the quality from these smaller local farms is much better than some of the USDA ‘organic’ from other places. The smaller farms rotate their crops and let the soil rest, which makes for highly nutritious food, since we get our nutrients from the soil. And I just love when I see little bug bites on food. It means it hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals. I’ll take little bugs over pesticides any day! :O)

  3. It’s my understanding certified organic means a field has not had pesticides on it for at least 3 years, whereas simple organic means a field has been ‘clean’ for only one year.

    hungrytoad….do you agree?

    1. In order to become certified organic under USDA rules, and Certified Naturally Grown rules as well, fields must have been chemical free for 3 years. If you grow on fields that have been treated with banned substances within the past 3 years, you are labeled “Transitional” until 3 years has expired, and in the interim you cannot use either label. I have never heard of “simple” organic. I have been involved in these issues for nigh on 40 years. It is determined by USDA and CNG both that it takes at least 3 years to “clean” a field, though with some substances that is certainly not enough time. The people you can trust most are small, local, principled farmers who have been at it since before the USDA took over. Not to say that new, younger farmers are suspect. There are plenty of them and we need them. At 64 I can see my limits on the horizon. Thanks for asking.

  4. In Oregon, anyway, the WIC program gives vouchhers equally $20.00 to use for local farmstands or farmer’s markets. Also, the SNAP program, esentially food stamps, you can go to a farmers market and use tokens for whatever produce you choose. Then the farmets can exchange the tokens for money. Its an awesome proogram and really allows even low income folks to follow the practice not perfection ideals. We are cement locked so to speak but by way of the farmers market I was able to work out a deal with one of the farmers that my kids and I would weed their bean rows and pick at the same time. What fun! My kids learned garden etiquette so to speak (don’t pick the baby ones, this is what a weed looks like, we have to be careful not to step on the green growing things and fresh green beans are way better than canned. In fact we use frozen occasionally but my kids will not eat canned green beans anymore. My four year old looked at a limp, pale green bean specimen and said, “I can’t wait for summer all the REAL green beans I can eat!”
    So, truly, I can’t afford Organic apples in winter time so I either just don’t buy them, pull out our frozen slices from the summer, or I buy one or two and we eat them as a very special treat. It can be done!
    And Hungrytoad as you represent our organic, clean, principled farming community a BIG THANK YOU TO YOU AND ALL THE FARMERS WHO CA RE ABOUT WHO THEY FEED!!!!!

    1. Thanks. You just gave me an idea. Some of my CSA people want to bring their kids out to work. My experience has been that insofar as actual production goes they are not helpful, and they scare me in regards to injury, damage, and unhappiness. For those parents who want to introduce their kids to farming and plants maybe I could set aside a small, safe plot for them to learn in, and the heck with my production desires for that square footage. Education and experience is worth it. I’ll do it!

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