I'd first like to say that I have absolutely zero objection to non-organic produce. I really really do not. I opt for an organic garden because actively putting poison on my own food seems odd. And although I know that there is/was/remains in a lingering way poison on most non-organic produce, I just don't have the time or the inclination to care. I just wash it, like most people.
But when you garden you get to "know" your plant a little. And you become familiar with its behaviors, it's output etc. So in that case, organic seems just a little bit more...gardeny. I dunno. It's harder, certainly...
Anywho, organic is not all sunshine and roses. I think a lot of my "organic only" snob friends (no insult intended...) would be super grossed out to know what's involved. Here is some of that info:
Truth number one: Organic = bugs.
This is just a fact. Even grocery store organic produce will have bugs. If you can't hack bugs you probably aren't eating organic, or looking at it very closely. For example, broccoli.
Yummy!!! Guess what's crawling riiiiiiight next to his mouth?
See those little dots? APHIDS! Hundreds of them! It's thick enough to cover the whole thing and almost look like the broccoli crown itself! Eeeeeew. Go wander through Sprouts and pick up a head of broc. Every other one SHOULD have these on them. Wash it in water with salt and vinegar and they'll come right off. If you miss a few... Eh, protein.
Aphids can be dealt with organically using lady bugs. Lady bugs eat aphids. The aphids are attracted to the nitrogen in your soil. So if you have manure in your soil, you'll get bigger, leafier, healthier plants, but you'll also get aphids.
Not all broccoli will have aphids.
See? Clean as a whistle. Except for this guy...
See him? He blends right in. He is a cabbage worm. And I imagine he's delicious. Or just keep an eye out for him. Cause if he gets in your cabbage, you get holy cabbage.
So holy it's running for Pope. (Do you run for Pope?). If you see white butterflies around your cabbage, you have cabbage worms, likely. Cover them with netting. The netting keeps them from laying eggs and eating your whole patch. In theory.
You know who loves bugs on cabbage and broccoli?
Truth number two: Organic = smaller (usually)
The stuff you get in a grocery store is fed steroids. I hate to tell you. I have a friend who runs a baseball blog who is actively upset about the use of steroids. Probably not in veggies, but given his passion on the issue I can only imagine it translates to veggies as well.
This is a good sized organic carrot from my garden compared to my husbands hand. He's a normal sized grown man. And they vary pretty significantly from carrot to carrot. My red carrots were all nice and fat, my whites were all long and skinny. I barely got any orange.
But truth number 2.5, these carrots are way prettier than their evil grocery twins. Even next to my dirty glove.
They make nice bouquets.
Truth number three: Organic = imperfect.
It's less a fault of the organicness and more of the grocery store only selling the perfect looking food. There is nothing actually wrong with this carrot. You can eat it just like its little friends.
Yes, it's a carrot. Yep I'm sure. Nope I didn't plant radishes. Honestly people its not just about the outside! It's what's inside that counts right?
See? Orange like a carrot. :)
Finally, truth number four: Organic (rather home grown) = kid friendly.
My kids have eaten the following dishes, veggies and all. Excitedly too, because they pulled the carrots, cabbage and broc that went into them.
That last one is fried rice, showing you an appropriate rice to meat to veg ratio, if you wanted yours to be healthy. Trust me it cooks down so it looks more even. Start with less than that and you've got problems.
Oh look! I got through all I wanted to say! Hooray! Ok so remember, organic veggies are buggie, oddly shaped and small, but they are delicious, less likely to make little boys start menstruating at the age four, and prettier. And chickens like them. And ergo visa vie, chickens eat bugs, there are bug nutrients in your eggs! Unless your eggs come from unhappy chickens.
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