I used to think about organic foods and wonder: “Why do people eat that over-priced, dirty stuff.
” Whenever I would see someone at a grocery store who would buy organic foods at a substantially higher price, I would think to myself “Why? Why are you spending twice as much money on a banana just because the sticker on it says it’s organic?” I immediately judged the person as weird or stupid because I never took the time to look into what organic food is.It wasn’t until last year that I started to learn about organic food. At a workplace seminar, I began to really understand what the word “organic” means. By the end of my speech you should be able to more easily understand what makes a food organic, how to identify organic foods, what types of foods are available in organics and where you can buy them.The US Department of Agriculture defines organic foods as any food that is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.
Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.The foods are produced without using most conventional pesticides and fertilizers. A government-approved certifier must inspect farms where organic food is grown before a product can be labeled as “USDA certified organic.”While working at a grocery store, I learned if an organic produce item is placed into a bag with something that is not organic then it is no longer considered organic because it has come in contact with the pesticides and fertilizers in the conventional product.The grocery store also taught me how to identify whether or not a food is organic. Fruits and vegetables are either labeled as organic or have a #9 in front of the produce code number.For example the produce code for bananas is 4011, so the code for organic bananas is 94011.
Other types of foods can be identified by the USDA Organic Seal.When you see the seal, which is a brown and green circle that says “USDA ORGANIC,” you know that the product is made with at least 95% organic ingredients. If a food is 100% Organic, that is usually specifically stated on the label. Jeff Cox, author of The Organic Cook’s Bible, says, “Organic growers are primarily concerned with quality, so the varieties they select to grow are known for their flavor impact, rather than their ability to ship well or keep well on the shelf.”What this means is that organic foods are typically from local farms and growers.In the Central New York area alone there are over 39 farms that either grow organic foods or raise organic livestock and poultry. Over 50 percent of all organic food sales happen through supermarkets.
Locally, we have a variety of options to shop organic. Wegmans offers over 70 varieties of organic produce alone.Their Nature’s Marketplace carries nearly everything you can think of in an organic option including products like milk, ice cream sandwiches, cereal and tortilla chips.Price Chopper has recently introduced a line of strictly organic foods called Wild Oats. The company’s product line spans nearly every department in the store from pasta sauce to seafood. Green Hills Market and P & C foods also offer a variety of organic items.When I used to think of organic foods I thought of them as natural foods,.