The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

8:40 PM

Organics - Why Bother?

Posted by Food Pear-ings


What is an organic product?
The term organic refers to a product that has been grown or manufactured without the use of any unnatural or synthetic materials. In a society where processed foods pumped up with chemicals has quickly become the norm, the organic market offers a refuge from the pumped-up world of things like "processed cheese product" and "potted meat food product". Organics offer us what nature provides: real food.

What foods can I find that are organic?
Today, the trend of organic foods is catching on at a quick pace. Therefore, you can find many types of products boasting the organic label.
Meat, Poultry, and Fish
Animal products that are certified organic indicate that the animals are fed only organic feed (or feed in the wild), and the use of hormones or other non-organic substances. Since no synthetic materials are entered into the animals, the end product is therefore organic and natural.
Many fruits, vegetables, grains, and other products may also be found in organic varieties. These foods have been grown without the use of synthetic additives, non-organic pesticides, and other non-agricultural products. This simply means that the plants are grown naturally, and nothing synthetic is added, resulting in natural foods.
Other Products
Many other food products may be found sold in organic varieties. From spices, to oils, to coffee and tea, to entire dishes and manufactured foods, organics are becoming popular all over the world. 
Many non-food products may also be labeled organic, indicated that no synthetic materials were used in the production of those products. For instance, organic cottonclothing, or organic soap.

How can I find organic products?
Today, organics are available in most any supermarket. While the ratio of organics to non-organics is still small, the more we buy (and thus the more popular the organic market becomes), the more we will see over time. Eventually, we may be able to live in a world where processed, synthetic foods are the minority, and people value the fresh, natural taste of organic foods.
Specialty food stores are likely to carry more organic products than your local supermarket. Either way, look for products that are labeled "organic". There are strict regulations in place in the manufacture of organic foods, as well as in the labeling of foods as organic, so organic food companies will display their organic nature with pride.
If you have trouble finding something in an organic variety, try searching online.  Most food products today can be found in organic form.

Why bother?
Organic foods promote the use of natural, safe products, and promote growing and farming without the use of harmful chemicals and additives.  Organic products are foods as nature intended.  And since organic products are made naturally, they are safe for people and the environment.  In addition, the more we purchase organic products, the larger the organics market will grow, and the more natural growing we will see; this leads to a better, cleaner Earth.
And perhaps most importantly, the strict regulations regarding organic food production create more humane standards for handling animals.  The torturous conditions often found in animal breeding and processing centers are not permitted with organic foods.  Therefore, the animals are treated in a more humane fashion.  This means no pumping cows full of steroids, no cramming hens into cages so small they can't even turn.
In addition, organic farms and processing facilities produce less waste, and consume less energy than standard systems.

Why don't we just use all organic products?
The main issue with organics is the cost.  Some organic products can be cost-prohibitive to many people, when compared with standard processed products.  The more popular organics become, however, the lower the cost becomes.  So common organic products may be closer in price to a normal supermarket product, while more rare organics (something you usually don't find as an organic) may cost much more than the standard brands.
So, you have to balance what is important to you with your budget.  However, whenever possible, I highly recommend organic products.  I think you will find that you will not only feel better about yourself by using them, but they will often also taste better too!

For more information on organics, check out the USDA Web site.

Article- Adam~Truffle Shuffle
Photos- Alisha~Magic of Spice

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