What to Look for in Organic Produce

In recent years, organically grown food has exploded in popularity in America. With the rise of national chains such as Whole Foods, which carry organic produce almost exclusively, it has become available to greater parts of the population. Along with all this organic produce, however, have come a lot of questions, so you'll need to know how to navigate this new food frontier:

Looks Aren't Everything
Choosing organic produce can be different from choosing mass-produced or conventionally grown fruits and veggies. Most fruits and vegetables grown in a non-organic nature put a large emphasis on appearance. Taste and texture take a back seat to sheen and luster. A perfectly red and blemish-free conventionally grown tomato may be mealy and unappetizing, purely because it was designed to look good. Nowhere along the line was taste taken into consideration.

On the other hand, organically grown produce often comes with bruises or dark splotches that might reduce its visual appeal, especially if you grew up on the mutant kind that's been genetically altered to achieve visual perfection. However, in terms of taste-the only category that actually matters-organic produce is miles ahead. Therefore, when choosing organic produce, put less of an emphasis on visual appeal. If you see rough parts, they are probably more than fine to eat or can be cut off easily.

Read Product Displays Carefully
When shopping at a grocery store that carries both organic and conventionally grown produce, as many do these days, you want to make sure there is a high degree of transparency in the store displays. Many will attempt unclear labeling or other forms of subterfuge in order to trick you into thinking that what you are buying is organic. Try to find an honest grocer who clearly marks what is organically grown and what is not. Grocers who also include the state, region or farm that they received the produce from are even less common and more deserving of your patronage.

Budget More For Organic Food
Lastly, expect to pay more. Organic produce is grown without insecticides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers, meaning the crop will suffer more losses than one that is fortified and protected by poisons and helped along by unnatural fertilizers. In order to make up for the smaller output, each individual fruit or vegetable will probably be more expensive than their conventionally grown kin. When you take into account the overall cost of conventional growing methods, including the impact on our environment and our bodies, are a few extra bucks really that significant?

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Organic produce refers to fruits and vegetables grown without conventional pesticides or fertilizers made from synthetic ingredients. It is grown on both certified organic farms and noncertified organic farms. Certified organic farms are required to follow United States Department of Agriculture organic farming guidelines, whereas noncertified farms are not.

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