Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Taste Test: Organic vs Conventional

I am thinking of doing a taste test to find out if there is any significant taste difference between organic and conventional fruit perhaps next week when I am home visiting my parents. What do you think I will find? Will a blindfolded subject be able to tell the difference?


Steph said...

If both the conventional and the organic produce come from huge farms in California, which they're likely to in February, my experience would say no. Unless you're comparing a conventional Red Delicious apple with an organic Braeburn or something. But I'd love to be surprised.

The real taste difference I notice is between local produce and supermarket produce. I don't know if it's because is fresher, or because small farmers tend to take better care of their soil than huge farms (even huge organic farms), or both.

DJdigishooter@gmail.com said...

I find a big difference between organic and non organic apples, oranges, and bananas.

Suze said...

I have no idea what you'll discover...but I'm interested to see what happens.

Say hey to your folks for me :)

Anonymous said...


Somewhat related, check out this article:

You mention apples, and it made me think of this stunning article by Nabhan. While you are on your quest, you should read "Coming Home to Eat" by the same author.

There is a new social movement out there around the idea of being a "localvore," do some digging on that if you don't know it.

The taste of fresh, local, and yes, organic produce is often quite different in my experience- but the taste is not quite the point. The lack of chemicals, the kind of farms it is from, etc really matters.

We use "earth's best" organic formula and food for our son. It is twice the price of "regular" food. Seeing the label say only "apples, water" or the like really makes me feel better about his long term health.

This is a topic that fires me up. I can't wait for summer and the ritual we have of going to the local farmers market every Saturday to buy our food for the week. We even buy local eggs, chicken, and bison meat. From May-October, we try to eat the "50 mile diet"- only food from within 50 miles. Its hard as hell and of course we bend the rules all the time.

Oh- also, read B. Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." It is a lyrical ode to the lost art of growing what you eat.


Pam said...

Thanks, Chris! Neat article! Just to clarify, I do think there is a difference in taste between organic and conventional fruit and I understand the value of the organic process. I bought BK's book when it came out, but I haven't read it yet. I did, however, read Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma and really enjoyed it. I thought doing a taste test was a good idea because I thought it would be interesting to try to describe what the taste differences actually are.

Anonymous said...

Cool. I think the taste test is a good idea- I have friends and relatives who think organic = bad taste, and will not be convinced otherwise. I often wonder, especially as I pony up the extra cash, if I am falling for a fad, or what. Its natural to have doubts about all this, I guess.

About bald vegetarians, well....I have a full head of hair and I try to avoid meat. I love a good quiche. I can bench press a lot, and I think I am some sort of "real man," but given a choice between a steak and a nice salad...uh, well, I'd go salad- esp. if I grew the lettuce in my own garden.

I am thinking about doing my own blog, and taking picture of my little putt putt garden could be a feature!

back to apples- for a couple years now I have been thinking that somewhere down the road I'd love to have an orchard. Something about the tidy rows of apple trees makes me very happy. The ritual of pruning, the anxiety of dealing with weather, all that makes me happy in an odd way. Its nothing but a seed pod, but boy are they tasty.

I eat at least one apple a day. I have an apple barrel in the basement. I only buy apples from local growers- there are 2 within 5 miles- and when that source runs out, I only buy apples from Michigan or New York. I saw some lovely looking honeycrisps at the store recently- I picked up the bag and looked, and they were from NEW ZEALAND. Good GOD that is a long way for food to travel...


Pam said...

I think it would be AWESOME if you had a blog. I would definitely read it! :-) (And, the orchard idea is pretty cool, too.)