Thursday, August 25, 2011

Non Organic vs. Organic vs. Heirloom

I often find myself getting into arguments with people about Heirloom/Organic/Farmers Market produce, like anything else the magic is in education. There are tons of great resources out there to help you understand the deep rooted differences between grocery store produces items and other produce types. And there are plenty of people out there who are willing to tell you ALL about it, if you are willing to lend an ear. But I am of a distrustful nature, I will listen all the live long day as people climb up their soap boxes, then I go home and research things for myself. I don’t have a lot of sited sources here because  I assume people who are striving to better their own lives aren’t of the lazy sort and are willing to do the leg work necessary to make good choices.  But in the interest of pointing in the proper direction here are some major differences.

Non-organic grocery store produce:
1.       Most likely GMO
2.       Most defiantly picked before ripe (hence the bland taste)
3.       Usually gassed at some point during transfer to stimulate ripening like activities, which mostly just change the color of the food.
4.       Sometimes bleached, lettuces and other in ground leafy greens get bleach baths before hitting the supermarket.
5.       Grown in nutrient-less soil with the help of petrochemical fertilizers
6.       Possessing approximately 60% less nutrients than those your grandparents ate

{gentically modified to look nice, picked at the right size, gased for color and sold at your local store}

Non-certified Organic produce:
I will only trust this if I am comfortable with the seller. Organic certification is extremely meticulous and expensive, not everyone can pull it off and stay financially afloat. Generally these famers are people who take great care in growing food naturally without synthetic chemicals but who also cannot afford to keep up with the certified organic requirements. This category is a big grey area where politics start to really show. If you want to know more I suggest researching yourself, there are hundreds of books written on the subject.

Farmers Market:
I highly suggest frequenting farmers markets or upick if you can. Get to know your growers and you will get to know their practices. The best thing about produce from these sources, you know they have been picked when ripe and have avoided any bleachy baths.

Organic produce:
1.       Very strictly monitored by the government agencies
2.       No use of synthetic chemical inputs
3.       No GMO
4.       Land must free from synthetic chemical input for three years and tests must come up clean.

{Organic, its a little funky but it tastes good}

Heirloom produce:
Heirloom pants are plants grown from seeds that have stayed out of large-scale agriculture. The plants are grown, seeds collected and saved, then replanted the next year. They are cultivated through open pollination (bugs and air) and cultivated with great care. Originally these plants were saved for historical interest, but as big ag has taken over many of the worlds foods sources these plants are one of our last remaining genetically untainted food sources. Seeds can be procured at seed banks around the country and in my opinion should be support as much as possible. Plus the taste really cannot be matched, truly incredible.
1.       Non GMO
2.       Amazing taste and quality
3.       Anyone who takes the time and work to deal with expensive and sensitive seeds is going to avoid synthetic chemicals.

{Heirloom, really funky but oh so good}

Back to the real world.

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