The view of organic foods

Discussion in 'Community' started by acidrock, May 7, 2004.

  1. acidrock macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I would like to know what people think of organic foods. I am living in the northwest and they are a big deal here. I grew up though on the east coast in DC and never really even knew that there were organic foods, but that could also be becuase when i was younger I wasn't really buying foods. But I think in general that organic foods are less common outside the northwest.

    A big grocery store Whole Foods was one of the only places in the DC area that I knew that sold organics. I would buy more organic food but I find they are more expencive. I think they're better though, not as many chemicals are used on them.

    In Seattle the PCC market is a really nice co-op that sells them and I like to shop there but only for a few things at a time. I am seeing though more organic coffee and other things like that too. What do you guys think?
     
  2. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

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    #2
    When I buy organics, its not because of any principal, its because sometimes they just taste better, particularly certain fruits and vegetables. in other cases, I just don't think it really matters.
     
  3. Dros macrumors 6502

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    #3
    My main support for organic foods is also tangential. Organic growers are more likely to be small farms that are willing to grow a diversity of crops. I like apples other than "granny smith" and "yellow delicious", for example, so organics are a good place for variety.
     
  4. acidrock thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    you also hopefully won't get what happened with Odwalla happening.

    Yes I mostly buy things like fruits and veggys organic, and special spreads that the PCC makes when I'm in Seattle
     
  5. wowser macrumors 6502a

    wowser

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    #5
    providing you are wiilling to pay a bit more, you can't go wrong. A lot of non-organic salds are full of crap and the organic versions are much better for you and taste better. Organic eggs are my favourite :).
    Odwalla juices ROCK - shame we don't get em in the UK :(
     
  6. acidrock thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    you prob haven't head about what happened to them. In the states several people have died from the apple juice. It's because the apples were on a farm and when they feel from the plants/ trees, I head there was manure on the bed and Odwalla didn't want to use chemicals etc so people got sick. I really did like some of there drinks, but I'm just glad I never drank the apple juice.
     
  7. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #7
    the chaos theory tells us that even the most minute chemical traces from fertilizer or pesticide could wreak havoc on humans in the future, which is why i buy organics whenever possible. It's usually a bit more, 5-20%, but the taste and freshness make up for it-- when organic lettuce looks crispy, it really *is*, it's not been sprayed with preservatives to make it *look* nice.

    paul
     
  8. wowser macrumors 6502a

    wowser

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    #8
    whoa!!! I was obsessed withg those drinks! I never had the apple, though - ,ainly the 'wellness' one. Gee - at leastr it beats Sunny D, eh?
     
  9. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

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    #9
    that problem was years ago, and can't happen now because they pasteurize all their juice. Their packaging used to say never pasteurized, on the idea that doing so killed the taste too. Now they flash pasteurize, still tastes about the same to me, so I don't see any problem with it.
     
  10. Datazoid macrumors regular

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    #10
    Growing up, I knew very little about organic foods. What I did know, however, came directly from my father (a chemist) who had very pointed views about them. Specifically, that they were a "waste of money" and that "everything is natural". Same for range-fed cattle, etc. They were all lumped in that peripheral group of "crazies" containing vegetarian/vegans, etc.

    I do not feel the same. In the town (Davis) that I live in currently, there is a very large organic presence. We decided to try, just to see what the difference was. Man, its really quite incredible; the food has flavor! I believe this is more due to the fact that organic foods are non-GMO (genetically modified); turning a tomato into a bouncy-ball probably has some effect on its flavor, dontcha think? As paul said, organic lettuce actually tastes and feels like...lettuce, nice and crisp, not watery and limp! The tomatoes are thick and meaty, not those green (meaning not ripened, although if you look, the insides are green-tinted sometimes) things that, when you cut them open, all the seeds spill out in a vomitous looking pile (well, I'm exaggerating a bit here, but...call it "taking creative license"). Seriously, though, there are very few fruits and vegetables that we buy non-organic at this point. Several other things we have experimented with organic (or at least, non-mainstream) products, such as salsa, peanut butter, and ice cream, and found that they, too, are much better. Can't say I've tried coffee, but it doesn't hurt to try. It doesn't *have* to be a lifestyle.

    Its unfortunate that you do not have a co-op in your area; I love the one we have here. Often times, the price they charge for ORGANIC fruits & veggies matches or beats the supermarket prices for "conventional" ones. <rant mode>Plus, shopping at a co-op helps support smaller farmers and not big corporations. GMO foods also come with other liabilities, such as the possibility of a future inability to return to "natural" crops. Do we really think that food was meant to have a RoundUp™ gene (engineered, of course, so Monsanto could sell more RoundUp™)? Heck, the fact that these foods even have "trade names" (ie Flavr Savr tomato, etc) is somewhat disturbing. I'll stop the rant here, though, before I get jumped on by the "scientific community"...all in the name of PROGRESS, right? And of course, the chemicals have their potential for harm as well; but then, so could the chemicals used to preserve Twinkies (etc.) or flavor (insert packaged or frozen food here). Not defending them, mind you, I don't like it either, but chemicals in food are almost superfluous at this point, something which will probably come back to haunt us. </rant>

    I am interested, too, to know what the general opinion of people here is. I generally regard people at this board as being (at least somewhat) more well-educated than the rest of the population, so I am interested to see what people here believe.
     
  11. MatMistake macrumors member

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    #11
    I don't know about US law, but in the UK chemicals can be used on foods labeled 'organic', just the chemicals have to be classed as 'organic' or something like that. the thing is some of these 'organic' chemicals are much nastier than their artificial counterparts. I have been lead to belive that most oganic food (atleast in the UK) has had some sort of chemical used on it...

    but it does seem to be better grown/looked after/whatever and taste nicer
    and organic/free-range meet is so much better than the standard stuff
     
  12. latergator116 macrumors 68000

    latergator116

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    #12
    I think they have just recently imposed stricter laws for foods that have the 'otganic' label.

    BTW, does anyone know what happened to Fresh Samantha Smoothies? I thought they might have been bought out by Odwalla since they have the same packaging and sorts...
     
  13. BrianKonarsMac macrumors 65816

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    #13
    supporting organics has hundreds of benefits. the northwest of america tends to be the most ecologically conscious (those crazy old hippies ;) ) sector of america. many of the benefits to organic foods include:

    1. increased flavor, freshness, overall quality due to lack of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, etc. on the same hand it is harder to maintain a crop if it does become infected, and is (in most cases) far more costly to feed and tend the crop with organic fertilizers.

    2. supports a healthy environment. by not dousing vegetation in chemicals, your are cutting down on the amount leached in to water systems, which in turn increases available food to bacteria, which multiplies rapidly, choking off the oxygen supply to the rest of the aquatic life. eventually they deplete the oxygen, everything dies out, rinse and repeat.

    3. support your local farmer. most organic growers are "mom and pop" operations, who grow for not only the love of growth, but to provide a quality healthy product with a soul! Most major operations are huge corporations that look to trim costs everywhere possible while at the same time maintaining as high a yield a possible. This leads to cramped conditions where the overall quality is diminished in return for higher yield. Think milk factories where they cram cows into as many square feet as possible and literally milk them for all they're worth. cramped conditions promote disease as well as lower quality product. they also lace their food with insecticides to ensure none of their valuable crop is destroyed by insects, regardless of the health risks it causes.

    if you consider the increased price pays for the loving attention and care your product recieves, increased genetic diversity (huge operations grow one type of plant per warehouse, which tends to be the easiest plant to grow, not the more exotic varieties which require care), and overall quality, it's really worth it. my uncle owns a organic apple farm for our own personal family use, and it's incredible!! the variety of apple's he has came from old genetic stock he purchased at a seed bank, and you can't get apple's like these nowadays at your local grocer or even farmer's market.
     
  14. wowser macrumors 6502a

    wowser

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    #14
    non-organic fruit from American supermarkets tastes awful. It's all about hippy farmer's markets
     
  15. Dros macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I think the fruits and veggies in most supermarkets are flavorless because they were bred for thick skins, picked while rock hard, stored for weeks or months and ripened with ethylene gas to give it some color (but none of the sugar and chemicals that give it actual flavor).

    Fruits and veggies have been like that for decades here in the US, far before any genetically modified crops were made. They were ruined by good old cross-breeding and selection, the same process that gave us all of the tasty varieties in the first place. But just as breeding can produce ridiculous and diseased dogs, or showy flowers without fragrance, they can produce a tomato that looks like a tomato but tastes like the box it was shipped in.

    GMO crops have their own vices, but are not the root cause of blandness seen in supermarkets.
     
  16. Awimoway macrumors 65816

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    #16
    I buy them. "Supermarket" produce is not designed for taste or nutrition but presentation and durability. I hate tomatoes that have inch-thick skin and no flavor.

    Eggs that aren't organic give me the runs every time, but quality organic eggs cause me no trouble.



    I might point out, by the way, that there is another way to get chem-free, tasty produce: grow it yourself. Home vegetable gardens seem to be a thing of the past, but there's no reason they have to be.
     
  17. Bedawyn macrumors regular

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    #17
    All the benefits of organic foods don't matter a bit if they're too expensive to buy. I used to look at the organic (Anna's?) mac and cheese and just shake my head that it was three times the price of the generic. If I could have afforded to pay that much for mac and cheese back then, I wouldn't have been _buying_ mac and cheese, I'd have been buying real food.

    Now, fortunately, I'm a lot wealthier. :) I can afford organics now, and I'd like to buy them, I really would. But ya know, I can go to the coop and buy all the bulk nuts and grains I want, but I can't buy cat litter there, I can't buy bathroom tissue in bulk, I can't buy the brand of tea I've drunk for 30 years, I can't buy anything that I can make in 5 minutes when I get home from work late and exhausted. I go there, and almost nothing is familiar, and being budget-conscious is so ingrained that the notion of spending my grocery money on unfamiliar brands and foods I don't know how to pronounce or cook is just not something I can handle. I'm still only just starting to get over my distrust of "yuppie foods". And I most certainly don't have time and energy to go to both the coop and the supermarket instead of just one place, so the supermarket it is.

    Generally, I'm all for standing on principle, but this is one case where I truly believe being flexible would serve the long-term goal much better. The coops and other whole-foods markets would attract a much larger customer base and hence sell a whole lot more organics, make organics much more mainstream, if they just included a mix of "morally pure" products and everyday products. Instead, by insisting on selling only the limited selection of morally pure products available, they limit their usefulness. My local coop is actually much more convenient for me, location-wise, than the supermarket. And I hate my local supermarket with a passion -- it's just an icky store. If I could get cat food, cat litter, and bathroom tissue at the coop, I'd shop there regularly and I'd get used to the brands, so they wouldn't be unfamiliar anymore. But I can't, so I won't.
     
  18. BaghdadBob macrumors 6502a

    BaghdadBob

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    #18
    I work for an Organic food company, a pretty large one. Currently I'm in the quality control department. I'll probably get back to this thread later, but one thing I will say for now is that, despite the claims on the label, most of what we sell is not really health food. Sure, it's organic, but the real benefit of buying the food is not that it's better for you. Before I moved up to Washington I lived in the armpit of California, the Central San Joaquin Valley. This is where the vast majority of the food in the US is grown, and a huge percentage of the food in the world. When I think of the way the breadbasket of the world is running on non-sustainable growing practices it's a little scary. That RoundUp gene? It helps prevent topsoil erosion. Think Oklahoma, OK? Not the best answer, but it's better than nothing. Organics are the best answer, but the conversion for USDA Organic is so damned hard it would be pointless without serious help for farmers in that area to even try.

    So, yeah, support organic foods. If I feel like it, more on this later -- from the perspective of someone in the "finished product" sector of the industry.
     
  19. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    Uh, don't think so. Of course it may depend on what you are defining as food.

    While California is big, there is a much bigger place from North to South in the middle of the US where a huge portion of grain products (wheat, corn, etc.) and animal products (beef, pork, chicken) are grown and dairy products (milk, cheese) produced.

    Sushi
     
  20. Awimoway macrumors 65816

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    #20
    I'm gonna side with Baghdad Bob on this one. The Plains are important, no doubt, but they pale in terms of variety of produce grown, length of growing season, lack of bad weather, and and output per acre. It is quite possibly the best growing environment anywhere in the world and it is an impressively long and wide valley.
     
  21. evoluzione macrumors 68010

    evoluzione

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    #21
    i love WholeFoods. the food there is sooooo good in comparison to what else we can get here in NYC. yeah it's more expensive, but, some things are actually comparable or even cheaper, you have shop around. but the lemons are actually yellow, and not old and manky for example. oh and i bought some charcoal there, proper stuff too, none of this briquette bollocks. the food on the barbeque was very different, a lot better tasting with no trace of the fuel that's impregnated into those quicklighting briquettes. cheaper too. the meat and fish are much better there also. my girlfriend is a professional chef so she knows good food. it takes her twice as long to shop at a regular supermarket as she has to fish through all the produce to find something decent, whereas WholeFoods is ALL good pretty much.

    personally, i cannot wait to buy a house, and grow my own food. not much chance of that here in brooklyn at the moment though. i remember growing up and digging vegetables from the garden at my aunt's place, and eating them that afternoon, so good.

    and i feel better too, way less chemicals polluting the water and the food. why do you think everyone has so many allergies these days? there are so many new health problems today. you are what you eat. as the saying goes. you don't need to cut carbs etc, it's all nonsense, eat what you like, with a bit of common sense, and moderation. :)
     
  22. acidrock thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #22
    I think what he's saying is organic is not better for you in the sense that say milk at safeway is different from organic milk, but I think what people are observing though is there are less chemicals used on the food, and it is more from say mom and pop farmers which makes it taste more fresh. i think there are some differences in foods like veggies and fruits because they are not processed the same way. Though I have heard that organic soy milk is better for you, for example. His experience is prob different and here might be why. Say you worked at a restaurant. You prob think the food is grose, but the people that eat there love it, it's prob a similar experience. Just a thought -n
     
  23. Dros macrumors 6502

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    #23
    For me, organic food is cheaper. I'd rather spend $1.89 a pund for organic apples that are absolutely delicious than $1.29 for apples that are bland and mushy. Why pay anything for garbage?

    Same with free range meats and eggs. They are SO good. A free range flank steak is tastier than a regular filet mignon.
     
  24. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #24
    Well, let's see looking at some agricultural products nation wide. Afterall, Bagdad Bob states that CA is...well anyway, according to the USDA here are a few examples:

    Navel Oranges (in 1,000 tons):
    - CA 1463
    - FL 6030

    Other places in the nation, such as Florida concerning Navel Oranges, not only produce a wonderful crop, they out produce California production by a significant margin.

    Dry edible beans (in 1,000 cwt):
    - CA 1477
    - NE 3151

    Corn for grain (in 1,000 bushells):
    - CA 22,100
    - KS 325,950

    Of course we could ad NE at 1,123,750!

    Rice (in 1,000 cwt):
    - CA 39,105
    - AR 95,964

    California, while famous for its rice, still does not lead the nation.

    Soybeans for Beans (in 1,000 bushells):
    - CA 0 as in goose egg!
    - IL 382,950

    Winter Wheat Production (in 1,000 bushells):
    - CA 26,000
    - KS 475,300

    Kansas alone has almost 20 times the production of California.

    Well I think that I've made my point with these few examples. While California is a great state and is a major contributor for agricultural products, it does not lead the nation in all areas for sure.

    It all depends on what agricultural product you are discussing. In some cases, California lags way behind or is insignificant considering total US production of a particular agricultural product.

    That is not to say, that California does not lead in some areas. They do lead the nation in some areas.

    Anyhow, for those who are interested, the US government publishes numerous reports that show actual production for a specific crop/agricultural product.

    Sushi
     
  25. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #25
    Has anyone beside CA actually created a defnition (legally) for what may be called Organic? 8 or so years ago CA was the only state with a defnition and the FDA had not created a nationally recognized one.

    That aside. I can't afford organic food so I don't buy it. I am skeptical of the movement for both the above reason (what is organic?) and because I associate organic food eaters with "naturalists" who seem to think that chemicals are evil (chemicals are the base of all things, living, non-living, organic or not).

    I can also say that as someone who suffered for years with allergies, just because it is natural doesn't mean it is healthy. Think poison Ivy, for example!
     

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