Inula Royleana
Midwest Gardening
Organic and Taste

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Interesting things happen to foods when they are grown organically.

Organic_Produce

Without chemicals, plants grown organically are surviving under constant stress.  While trying to produce their fruits, they are contending with adverse weather conditions, attacks by insects, and fighting for the soil nutrients needed to produce their fruit.  Sounds like these plant would have one heck of a time producing tasty fruit doesn’t it?

On the contrary.  Plants grown without chemicals do what they were born to do and create smaller, but tastier produce in the process.  The intense flavor of organic tomatoes illustrates best how that happens.

We all know that chemicals can prevent pests from ruining our garden crop, and that fertilizer can produce larger, juicier, more colorful fruits.  But without these chemicals, the plant is growing in less coddled, more stressful conditions.  In response to that stress the plant will do several things:

  • Fewer fruits will be produced, only forming the number of fruits the plant can reasonably sustain and remain strong.
  • Fruits will be smaller without high mineral and nitrogen fertilizers to encourage large fruits.  The large fruits contain a much higher volume of water, not only making the fruit large but also diluting the flavor.
  • Stressed plants produce higher levels of antioxidants which actually create the flavor and aroma.
  • High nitrogen in chemical fertilizers encourages unnaturally high levels of sugar and starch in the fruits.  What we really love is the intense natural flavors of the fruit itself, what we often refer to as GARDEN FRESH!

Those higher levels of antioxidants also seem to extend the shelf life of produce.  Your organic produce will be fresh and tasty longer than chemically grown produce.  Superior flavor, texture and shelf life seems most apparent with tomatoes, apples and strawberries, but perhaps only because they are most often evaluated in studies.

Why on earth do we need chemicals then?  Carefully and minimally used in severe circumstances they might make sense.  For every benefit, we do need to evaluate the risk.

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