So, what’s the deal with organic?
Here are some of the main things to know.
1) USDA Organic is the biggest designation we currently have that ensures no pesticides, herbicides, non-organic feed or hormones.
2) Many farmers follow Organic practices, but don’t have the “Organic” designation. Just ask.
3) There are subtle differences between conventional and organic practices that tend to weigh heavily on peoples preferences. For example, the hormone estrogen (given to conventionally raised cows to help their growth) shows up in the meat we eat at around 0.3 nanograms per 3oz portion. A birth control pill is around 38,000 nanograms. This is a tiny amount, and may or may not matter to you.
4) It’s important to get the correct information, and make informed decisions for yourself and your family.
5) It’s important to know that antibiotics are NOT ALLOWED to show up in any meat or dairy period. Conventional or Organic. So the whole deal with antibiotic resistance is a moot point.
Here is my personal opinion. Why not? I am all for technological advances and moving forward to make our food healthier. However, I think we need to go backward, rather than forward on this issue – back in time.
Do you know how many people had gardens and grew their own organic veggies and fruits back in the day? I remember picking zucchinis in my grandma’s backyard, and let me tell you, there weren’t any chemicals on those plants we had to be careful of. The soils weren’t as contaminated and food wasn’t as “messed with” in the past. “Organic” is at the moment, one of the only designations we have to ensure that the food we are purchasing, and that our kids are eating, is without those toxic chemicals. Organic however is an expensive process to go through for farmers, and some cannot afford to spend the money to have this designation, despite the fact that they do in fact farm organically and treat their animals very well. This is where our families and our kids have a disconnect with our farmers – we need to connect with them and ask these questions so that we can make sure the food that we are eating is in fact clean and those animals were treated well and not confined to small cages or fed food outside their normal diet. I would love for your kiddos to know the farmers that grow their apples, and be able to ask the farmers how they make the cheese they eat. What a fun way to get kids excited about healthy food!
The best way to connect with the farmers is at the farmers markets. And guess what, its farmers market season again! I encourage you to seek out your fruits, veggies, meats and dairy at the farmers markets this summer. This gives you a chance to get closer to your food! Ask questions about the foods you eat to the farmers & families who grow them. Below are a list of the local markets, dates they open and where they are located.
Wednesdays, 2-7pm, June 5 – September 25
Fridays, 3-7pm, May 10 – October 4
Juanita Beach Park
Thursdays, 3-7pm, May 16 – October 10
Bellevue Presbyterian Church
Saturdays, 10-3pm, June 8 – November 23
Compass Plaza (Next to BAM)
Sundays, 10-3pm, June 9 – October 13
Saturdays, 9-3pm, May 4 – October 26
Redmond Town Center
Saturdays, 10-4pm, May 4 – October 12
Woodinville City Hall
For more information, the following contacts were nice enough to fill me in on correct information and would be happy to answer any questions for you!
Jackie Madill, The WA Beef Commission
Linda Mendoza, RD, The WA Dairy Council
Bill Vingelen, Organic Farmer for The Herbfarm Restaurant
(sorry no personal contact there)
(have an interview with a pork producer soon!)
(lots of contacts here)