Ask Google “Is organic better?” and you’ll find hundreds of people weighing in on the organic vs. conventional debate. In day to day life you’ll hear people asking the same question. Sometimes it’s the person at the supermarket wondering why they should buy the more expensive bunch of bananas.
Sometimes the questions aren’t even really genuine but more of a snarky remark like “Ooh…orGANic milk. Like that’s better than regular milk?” or “What’s the difference between organic ketchup and regular ketchup?” followed by a snort as they walk away not really expecting (or wanting) an answer.
By the way, both of those snarky remarks… er… questions were posed to me recently. The former at the park after the snarky individual observed my son drinking an organic milk box. The later by someone partaking in my organic cuisine. Ah – the nerve!
And let’s not forget the human dictionaries who like to point out that an organic compound is just a compound that contains carbon. Yes, thank you, we get that you cracked open a Chemistry 101 text once or twice. I mean, really.
Just so we’re all on the same page – when we discuss organic farming we’re talking about food produced without the use of feed, fertilizer or pesticides that were chemically formulated and without growth stimulants or antibiotics. And please don’t tell me that *everything* is a chemical. I get it already. You took Chemistry 101.
But I digress… (too many jalapeños at lunch has apparently made ME snarky). The point I intended to make earlier is that we can now point to the results from a comprehensive study, led by Washington State University Regents professor of soil science John Reganold, showing the nutritional and environmental benefits of organic farming. Go Cougars!
In the study, data was collected from 13 pairs of organic/conventional strawberry fields (fields were adjacent to control for soil type and weather patterns) over a two year period. The strawberries were picked, transported and stored identically to replicate retail practices.
Scientists analyzed soil properties and DNA as well as the nutritional quality and taste of three strawberry varieties grown on 26 fields. The results, published on September 1, 2010 in “Fruit and Soil Quality of Organic and Conventional Strawberry Agroecosystems” are clear. Organic strawberries are better for the soil, better for you and they taste better than conventional strawberries.
Specifically, the study found that organic soil contained significantly higher amounts of nutrients (zinc, boron, sodium and iron) and had superior biological properties (enzyme activities, micronutrient levels and carbon sequestration). Furthermore, the DNA analysis showed that the organic soil contained a significantly higher amount of unique genes and overall genetic diversity.
The organic strawberries outshined the conventional strawberries in the health arena as well. The organic varieties contained more vitamin C and antioxidants. And, in addition to being healthier for you, the organic strawberry plants were healthier themselves. They had less fungal rot than the conventionally grown plants despite the fact that no fungicides were used on the organic fields.
And finally, when it came to taste, consumer panels preferred the organic “Diamante” strawberry over the conventional version.
So there you have it… organic strawberries are yummier, healthier and better for the soil. Take that, snarky remarkers.
What do you think? Do you notice a difference between organic and conventional produce? What about organic vs. conventional eggs, dairy and beef?