A very useful guide to eating healthy, natural foods… by Katie Panamarenko
Why organic? If I had a dollar for each time someone questioned my organic practices I would buy them all an organic meal and hope they would quickly understand. Instead I am writing this column to share my thoughts with those who will give me the time to read it.
So… why organic?
Well, with non-organic practice we find growth stimulants are used to speed turnover and increase individual size, likely producing a higher market value – faster. To ensure the product looks appealing, farmers will use environmentally-harmful and perhaps humanly-toxic pesticides to prevent infestation and preserve aesthetic integrity. I believe these practices have a hand in today’s patterns of cancer and other unexplainable ailments.
Not only can non-organic practices be considered harmful to humans through direct consumption, but also it may also evolve the rich ground into a dependent dirt which is turned over and toiled again before it has a chance to neutralize or replenish its natural riches and minerals – eventually turning the lush land to worthless dust. Also, these chemicals seep into the water tables, rivers, lakes and oceans, affecting countless species, along with evaporating into precipitation and repeating the cycle indefinitely.
I find folks often perplexed (or mad) over why organic tends to cost more. The main reason is the yield each farmer is able to gain. The organic farmer grows his crops naturally, with a yield that might be half as much as the “unnatural” farmer… AND it may take twice as long (as well as the produce being smaller).
The good news is that smaller-but-natural fruits or vegetables will be packed with many more flavors and nutrients than its genetically modified, deviant brother.
Lest there be any doubt, I ask those skeptics to buy two pieces of similar produce – one organic, one not. Choose from apples, lettuce, peppers and berries – essentially products most susceptible to pesticides and/or growth hormones because of their flavor (highly desired by pests), thin skins (which are easily penetrated by pests) and market value. Consume each piece, perhaps alternating each variable between bites and consider if there is a difference in at least the flavor, if not texture and color. This, of course, can be tested with any produce – meat, spice, milk and more.
If that does not convince, I can only suggest the old adages, “You pay for what you get” and, “You are what you eat”.
Katie Panamarenko owns Higher Grounds Coffee House and Organic Market at 479 West Perry Street, telephone (609) 884-1131.