No Artificial Chemicals
By the very nature of organic produce, they are not treated with harmful pesticides. That does not always mean no pesticides, but rather ones that are less toxic than their artificial counterparts. That does not mean they are 100% safe, but it is a step in the right direction.
Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cg0d4iZsjpc/
So why are chemicals being used on plants anyways? Well when growing produce on a farm, the product is the produce itself. It is important to maintain as much of the crop as possible when it comes time to harvest. There are many pests and bugs that thrive on plants, so pesticides get used to prevent as many as possible.
By using organic means only, there is an increased risk of losing crops to these pests but leads to a safer product in the end.
Many may think that organic produce is outside of their budget. This generally is not the case, and the benefits can far outweigh the extra cost. In some cases, the cost is the same as standard produce.
When looking at produce as a whole, it comes rather cheap in regards to the rest of the grocery budget. Unless you are shopping to feed the neighborhood each week, a little bit extra can be far worth the cost.
Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/ChHur-Ag5AX/
Let's say you had only a budget of $30 for produce for the week. You could get tomatoes, beets, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, salad mix, onions, and some peppers. A large variety of fresh produce, and on a budget.
Something to consider with organic produce is the extra work that goes into it. Organic farming tends to be more hands-on when growing and cultivating crops. This is needed to fight weeds, bugs, and diseases that come up. Having more hands-on labor means a higher operating cost, which can raise the cost of organic produce.
While commercial farms look to lower their costs and make as much as they can from their produce, organic farms look to strike a fair balance. Many organic farms do what they do for the love of growing and feeding families in their area. They do have to make some money to keep providing for communities, but they are not in it to make as large a profit as possible. Once profit comes into play with any business, ethics, care, and any good morals go out the window.
This reason is more on the opinion side of things, as taste varies from person to person. Most who have had certified organic produce can attest to the fresh taste it comes with.
Part of this reason goes back to not using preservatives. The closer to harvest you are consuming, the fresher it tends to be. Fresh produce generally tastes better.
This is by no means a guarantee, but try some organic produce the next time you get your food and see for yourself. The closer you can buy from the source, the fresher it is likely to be.
Increase In Nutrients & Antioxidents
By not using harmful pesticides or preservatives, the natural nutrients in organic produce tend to be higher. It may be a small amount, but when eating produce, every bit counts. We want the most from our money and our food.
Next time you are buying your produce for yourself and your family, think about where the food came from. Was there care taken into its growth and harvest, or done for profit?
Local Versus Chains
So you have decided to give organic produce a shot? The next step is what organic produce to buy. Checking for certified organic to make sure the farmers are following set standards is a plus.
Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cg95SusON8J/
Look around your local area for farmers and check out our other blog post on where you can
Buying locally means you are closer to the source and likely to get fresher produce. You can also find out exactly what went into the process from seed to harvest. That doesn't mean larger brands are all bad, but staying local can have its own value.
Looking Closer At Pesticides
On organic farms, they may use pesticides like Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT). While the large name may sound frightening, it is quite interesting how it works.
BT is a type of natural bacteria that lives in the soil. It has proteins that are toxic to certain insects when eaten, while it does not affect humans and other mammals since we can not activate those proteins. So it gets rid of the little guys causing damage to the plant without hurting us.
Another example of an organic pesticide is Spinosad which is a natural bacterium that is toxic to some insects such as spider mites, mosquitos, fruit flies, ants, and others. While this can have low toxicity in humans when exposed directly to it, via consuming it or getting it on the hands. So while farmers may have to take a little extra precaution applying it, it is broken down fast by sunlight. This means that by the time the plant is fully grown and producing, it is long gone.
Commercial farms on the other hand tend to use synthetic pesticides that are created in a lab and the main focus is on killing pests. They need them to be as effective as possible and last as long as possible to get the most out of their crops. This means that it is not only harming beneficial species such as honey bees but also leaves some of the pesticides on the produce that we consume.
So when we hear the word pesticide, we can rest assured knowing that not all are created equally, and going organic means a safer alternative.
There is an awful lot to take into this post, but there is a lot of information to share, and this only scratches the surface of it. What to remember next time you go to buy your produce is that Certified Organic is about consumers getting the best product both in safety and taste, and commercially available is about profit for the farm. It is up to you what you decide, but going organic means better food going into your body, and knowing what you are consuming.
From our home to yours
If you live in Jackson, MI, and the surrounding areas, be sure to check us out. Willow Garden offers a wide variety of organic produce grown right here on our 8-acre farm. Come say hello at the markets, or stop by and see the farm yourself for a local pickup.
You can order direct from us by clicking Here!