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Chef Pete

The "Dish"

"My dish of well seasoned food knowledge, tips & videos with a side of humor

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Organic Foods

May 14, 2019
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You’ve heard the expression, “It’s like choosing between Apples and Oranges”.

In the case of Organics, its just not the difference in this case between 2 fruits, but the differences in just about everything that brought these fruits to market, from the seed to the soil and then ultimately to your table, Organic foods are all about the “process” that makes the product.

What makes something Organic?

In a nut shell, its mostly about giving you a non-genetically altered (GMO) product, free of “artificial” chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, sweeteners, preservatives, colorings, flavorings or food additives. In today’s day and age, “How do you do that”? Herein lies the “process”.

Using produce as an example, instead of planting genetically altered (GMO) fruits and vegetables which resist pests and increase yields, or using chemical pesticides and fertilizers which help do the same, Organic farming uses techniques and practices such as “natural” fertilizers, like manure, soil enrichment, by crop rotation, mulching & tilling, and pest control methods like birds, insects, traps and “naturally-derived” pesticides to do the job.

Are Organics better?

This is the question that most people ask themselves. Well? I think the first best answer to that question is to define “better”.
Better for your overall health? There have been innumerable studies on this. Overall, a slightly larger percentage say yes, mostly pointing out that Organic soil, that is enriched “naturally”, produces produce higher in antioxidants and certain micro-nutrients like vitamin C, zinc and iron in some fruits and vegetables and decreases nitrate levels. In addition, some people with allergies have found that their symptoms diminish when they eat only Organic foods. As for genetic modification, Organic growers insist that long term studies have yet to conclusively prove that GMO produce is safe. Having said all of this, the nutrient content of produce is affected by soil nutrients (Organic or otherwise).

Better tasting? Maybe. Added vitamins and or minerals and possible lack of nitrates don’t add up to improved flavor. Soil, irrigation and on-the vine / in the field ripening can, as it does for non-Organics as well as Organics. Fresher? Maybe. Shorter shelf life, (for the good and the bad it), means you’re likely eating Organic produce closer to its picked date and possibly closer to your local address. That’s all good, especially if you’re happy about the smaller carbon footprint created by shorter transportation distance. It’s also good because it will likely be picked closer to perfect ripeness which again, gives you better flavor as well.

Better for your wallet? Unfortunately, growing Organic produce generally costs the farmers more. Its more labor intensive, Organic certification is expensive “natural” pesticides are more expensive, farms are often smaller which means fixed costs are higher. Lastly, yields (due to the lack of chemical pesticides & fertilizers) tend to be smaller. All of this adds up to higher costs to produce Organic produce and, as such, Organic produce usually costs more.

Better for the environment? Yes. Less pollution in the soil, in the air and in the water benefit every living thing.

Are all Organics the same? No. Like many things in life, you have choices. They are:

100% USDA Organic. Exactly what it means, whether a single piece of fruit or a mixture of different ingredients put together, all are 100% USDA certified Organic and can proudly wear this seal below and have additional copy which reads 100% Certified.

USDA Organic. This is kind of an “Organic Lite” version. Used for processed or multi-ingredient products, in this case, at least 95% of the ingredients must be certified Organic and can use this seal below.

USDA_organic_seal

Made with Organic Ingredients. Here, 70% or more of the products ingredients must be certified Organic. This category of Organic MAY

NOT use the USDA Organic seal.
How is use of the USDA Organic seal protected?
Well, people who sell or label a product “organic” when they know it does not meet USDA standards can be fined up to $17,952 for each violation, and them are a lot of apples.
Whether Organics are just a feel-good exercise, or “just what the doctor ordered” for us to “feel-good”, it’s an ongoing debate which lands passionate people on both sides.

When it comes to choosing between YOUR apples and oranges Nino’s is just as passionate about offering our customers a large variety of both Organic and non-Organic products in all our stores throughout Southeast, Michigan.

Stop in and check out our delicious selections soon.

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