Just when you thought you were doing the right thing by trying to go more organic, now you find out that not all “organic” truly is. In an effort to try to eat better we need to be better informed. But trying to read every label on everything you buy at the grocery store has made the trip become more like going to the library! Is it really worth it? Yes. Our bodies were not made to handle all the additives, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) that are being added to our food. Here are some organic food tips that might help.
A Few Guidelines on Organic Foods
- Farmers Markets give you the opportunity to talk to local farmers and find those genuinely dedicated to organic farming practices.
Local Farms allow you to visit and discuss farming practices right there with the farmer in his field. If their farming principles sound good, safe, and organic to you then you have an agricultural gold mine just down the road!
- In-State Farmers are more likely to be sending organic produce to your supermarket. If it’s out of state or worse out of the country, it’s very likely grown with unnatural assistance.
- In-Season Produce is much more likely to be local and organic. However, if it’s grapes in the winter or the like, you can be fairly sure that it’s coming from a chemically-polluted farm thousands of miles away.
Supermarket Produce that is organic will have a 5-digit PLU starting with 9, while non-organic goods are only four digits long. But this doesn’t tell you what sort of farm produced the fruit or vegetable.
- Meat and Poultry buyers should look for the words “minimally processed” on food labels.
- Certification from the USDA National Organic Program is the only nationwide program to indicate and test organic farming practices, but this includes the big “organic” food conglomerates in the same harvest as the mom and pops.
While a USDA organics sticker or certifications from other organics programs may not be a foolproof sign of trustworthiness, it’s usually better than trusting any old sign claiming that the produce was grown “spray-free”, “naturally”, “with organic methods”, or the like unless you know the farmer personally. Many farmers and markets want to seem organic without the trouble and expense of being organic.”