To go organic or not to go organic...that is the question?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by robbie rensel, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Organic

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  2. Convetional

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  3. Local

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  4. Other: please explain

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  1. robbie rensel

    robbie rensel

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    As a private chef we get so many questions about if we use organic products or not.  What is your opinion on organic products?  Are they worth it? Are they better for the environment?  Are they more sustainable?
     
  2. michaelga

    michaelga

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    The question is a bit simple - but that is what they ask.

    Honestly it depends on the product... 

    - are pesticides common in the crop?

    - are yields much affected by the introduction of inorganic fertilizer?

    - is the crop common to the soils and climate of your geographical area?

    - nutrition generally does not change; however in some cases it's lessened in the case of under-nourished 'organic' crops.

    - remember poop and urine is 'organic', same with many other undesirable things - who determines what meets your standard of 'organic'

    - are certain parasites common in the crop, and do they do more harm to the consumer than a treatment for the crop?

    - 'organic' doesn't mean pesticide free, it just means that the pesticide must be 'organic', remember arsenic is organic

    There is a lot to think about - what we do is share our thoughts and say that it is always a changing environment.

    Would you serve or eat unwashed 'organic' greens...or drink from the local brook or stream, see what they have to say about that!
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  3. genemachine

    genemachine

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    What's undesirable about manure, Michael? You can very safely fertilize with manure, if you know what you are doing. That is the main problem, I guess - organic is so broad a label these days that it is nearly meaningless. If you look for sustainability, I'd mostly go local and get to know the producers and make up my own opinion on their practices. 
     
  4. michaelga

    michaelga

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    Nothing wrong with manure... I was refering to the direct application by various critters.
     
  5. genemachine

    genemachine

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    Well, god only knows what craps on my crops in my vegetable patch... :D

    But I generally agree with your point - organic as a label is pretty much meaningless these days. If you want ethically and sustainably produced stuff, you need to know the producer. E.g. - I get my eggs from my neighbour. Not certified organic, but I take his eggs any day over any organic supermarket stuff. I can just see that his hens are raised in a good way - especially when I have to catch the escapees in my garden and bring them back to him :D
     
  6. junglist

    junglist

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    If you are able to source your product locally and are educated in how that product is being raised and processed, you will more likely end up with a higher quality, more sustainable product than most 'organic' foods out there. I say most because you might happen to be close to an organic farm, in which case more power to you.

    The concept of organic product can have the best of intentions, but lately it's become a fad and aren't always worth it, better for the environment, or more sustainable. For example, you go to an organic market to pick up some organic avocados from Mexico. They'll be double the cost of normal avocados if not more, that had to somehow be transported to you via burning fossil fuels and consumption of supplies (packaging, processing, etc), and aren't necessarily sustainable so far from their source, and in most cases out of season. 

    I worked for a huge advocate of organic product for a couple years. I soon learned that the label organic was just an excuse to jack up prices. There's an insane amount of guidelines that has to be followed to maintain a product being labeled organic. They have to be stored on shelves above natural product, if not on entirely separate shelves, the boxes containing organic product had to be fully covered, any cutting boards/knives/utensils used to prep/serve organic foods had to be washed in separate organic sinks, etc. And just from experience I can tell you that all these guidelines were not followed all the time. Chances are if you shop at this company and you are buying an 'organic' product that's not pre-packaged from the source, its 50/50 the product is still organic by the time it reaches your hands. 

    Maybe it was that whole experience that has made me so desensitized by the whole organic movement. No question I have come across some high quality, very beautiful organic product before. But in the end is it worth it? For me not really, it's all subjective like one's choice in cooking knives.
     
  7. genemachine

    genemachine

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    I wouldn't call it all subjective - I have seen the practise of high intensity conventional agriculture, heck, my brother in law runs a conventional hog business. Not even a bad one as the industry goes, mind you, but sorry, after stepping in his sheds wearing protective clothing and nearly gagging on the stench of ammonia, I would have no part in that. I source my pork from others - I know a guy with huge apple orchards who lets his pigs root and forage in the orchards in summer. They gorge on dropped, slightly fermented apples. God, those pork bellies - thick with fragrant fat, stuff to die for. And that is why I pay a premium for his pork, not because of some random label. He is not even certified organic, but I take his stuff over anything else. 

    Junglist is completely right that it has become somewhat of a fad these days. I can only recommend Michael Pollan's "Omnivore's dilemma" - he explores the matter beautifully.