What Does Organic Even Mean?!
I’ve had this question sarcastically posed to me. It’s understandable. Fads come and go, trends are trendy, big brands usurp terms and imagery and suddenly something that started in earnest no longer has meaning. “Organic” is not one of those things.
There is a lot of trickery in food labeling. The world “natural,” for example, means nothing. You find that word on almost every package at the grocery now from loose produce, packaged fresh food and processed food to laundry detergent and trash bags.
”Cage Free” is a term most think indicates roaming healthy chickens laying their eggs in the grass and sun. Partly because Big Ag companies deceptively put pictures of chickens in fields on the product and sides of their trucks. Unfortunately, “cage free” is still a factory farm - just without battery cages. So, the chickens are stuffed into a closed warehouse on a dirt floor with workers “tending” to them in hazmat suits. Because who would want to breathe THAT air? (For the record, roaming chickens are labeled “pastured.”)
Luckily, “organic,” for the most part, is a label which can be trusted. What it means is that your food was raised without the use of synthetic chemicals or toxic substances. There are no planes dusting crops with pesticide (killing both pests and the good bugs, lizards and other tiny life needed to maintain a healthy ecosystem). There is no buildup of these same chemicals in the soil and water the plants feed from.
On organic farms, farmers plant their produce in a way which discourages pests and encourages nature to do its thing. Crops are rotated to keep soil rich and healthy yielding strong, virile plants. They use natural fertilizers like compost or their own livestock rotating on the land. They literally pick bugs from plants and weeds by hand. Different pest sprays are made with garlic, pepper, soap, baking soda, vinegar. And slugs - they like to get drunk. A little container of beer will distract them from eating nearby plants. Ha! The result is more nutritious and sustainable food.
It’s harder to farm this way. Both physically (it takes more time and effort) and business-wise (organic farms must fill out and pay to file a mountain of paperwork each year - conventional, pesticide users do not have to do this). That’s why Organic is more expensive.
But, the next time you are faced with the decision to pay a dollar more for that organic avocado, hold a conventional in the other hand. See the faint white residue in the pocked skin of the conventional? That’s chemical residue, folks! Do you want to spend the money at the farm-acy now or the pharmacy later?
Delcious in-season figs from Good Earth Organic Farm near Dallas, Texas. You've NEVER tasted a fig like this.
Tree-ripened, eat immediately. Goddess-level fruit.