I was wondering the other day just how many people really can tell the difference in taste between organic and non-organic foods.
Say I was to line up three potatoes, or some lettuces, or strawberries even, and I told you that one was organically grown, one grown with old style pesticides and manmade fertilizers, and the other genetically modified. In a blindfold test, could you identify which was which?
I was a chef until recently and when it became fashionable to advertise organic foods on a menu, I fell in line. But I can honestly say that I could hardly ever justify the higher prices I had to pay in terms of taste.
It does of course take years of inactivity before a field can be considered ready for the production of organic crops, years during which those fields earn nothing for the farmer. Organic growing is more ‘hands on’ than conventional production with the resultant increase in labour costs. The amount of crops rejected due to poor quality is bound to higher. This all adds to the higher ticket price.
I’m certain that there is a lot of snobbishness where organic food is concerned. Some people like to be seen loading fruit and vegetables from the organic section into their shopping trolley. They like to tell their friends at a dinner party “these are organic peas of course. I get them from that little farmer chappy down the lane”
But maybe I’m the one that’s wrong. Perhaps I’m telling my taste buds to ignore the difference! Perhaps I should be championing the organic cause rather than questioning it.
There is of course far more to the organic issue than taste and price. I am in no doubt that organic farming methods are of great benefit to the environment, not just in the short term but for future generations too.