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Organic v. Non-Organic


chef koo
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I was talking to a friend of mine who was romancing the idea of how organic everything tastes better than their non counterparts. I asked her if she could tell the difference between organic and a non organic carrot. She couldn't. So I proceeded to list off foods and she admitted that she had never really tasted alot of them side by side. My question for everyone here, is that if you were in a blind taste test, with a line up of about 20 different pieces of salmon, could you pick out the farmed from the wild?

How about other things like carrots? Onions? Bread made from organic and non-organic flour. How would the best non-organic match up with crap organic? Can you tell the difference between organic pasta and non?

BTW I'm not advocating anything. I'm just curious what people think.

bork bork bork

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I'll take fresh, just pulled carrots with their tops still on over old organic carrots any day. We used to be able to associate organic with fresh and usually local (especially when I lived in California). Now, not so much.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Yes. There's something different about carrots. A fresh pulled carrot is vastly better, and even different, than one that's been shipped and sat in a grocery store for awhile.

I'd be shocked if everybody couldn't tell the difference. Every neighbour that I let try a fresh carrot exclaims surprise.

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I had a chance to taste five kinds/varieties of wild salmon this past fall at the Canadian Chef's Congress and I was a little surprised at how vastly different they tasted, side by side.

I must admit that without someone telling me which was which, I doubt I could have identified all five correctly.

As with a farmed salmon vs wild salmon..........I could probably pick that out no problem.

One would taste like wild salmon and the other like styrofoam. :)

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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Yeah, you could pick the fresh carrot. I don't think that can really be disputed unless you're cooking the shit out of your carrots. The organic thing, though? Like you, I doubt it. And of course we're assuming the carrots are of the same variety, equal freshness, etc, right?

Chris Taylor

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Without a doubt, I could pick out organic apples, peaches, and raspberries. The difference to me is stark. Also wild salmon vs farmed--the farmed has a "feedy" taste that I can readily identify. Onions, no. Bread, no. Carrots, no. I don't think I could tell most organic vegetables from their conventional counterparts. Fruits are where I think the difference is most apparent.

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Without a doubt, I could pick out organic apples, peaches, and raspberries. The difference to me is stark. Also wild salmon vs farmed--the farmed has a "feedy" taste that I can readily identify. Onions, no. Bread, no. Carrots, no. I don't think I could tell most organic vegetables from their conventional counterparts. Fruits are where I think the difference is most apparent.

Blinded, I am quite sure I couldn't tell the difference between "commercial" organic and "commercial" non-organic. And by that I mean the stuff you get in the MegaMarts. I sincerely doubt anyone could, after they've come through the commercial food chain, and been in holding/storage for who-knows-how-long. Fresh from the farm, yeah, that's probably a no brainer, but grocery store organic versus non, not so much. They're still sitting in cold storage for way too long, and being force ripened by gas or other means, they're just not getting doused with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The produce is still not picked when it's ripe, it's held in storage and it's not as flavorful as farm-fresh. Think not, go to the MegaMart and find an "organic" tomato, even in the dead of summer, and cut into it. It's just organic styrofoam.

Nope. I tend to think a lot of it is just a big money spinner for our supermarkets.

Not so much here, either. While I don't think the taste of supermarket organics (and again, I'm talking about commercial, MegaMart, industrially farmed organics, not farmstand stuff) isn't any different from non-oraganic, at least in California, if produce is "certified" organic, I have a relatively high level of assurance I'm not getting nasty chemicals along with my lettuce. For certain products, especially those where I eat the peel, or that aren't peeled (i.e., salad greens, tomatoes, apples, carrots, radishes, scallions, herbs, etc.) it's worth the extra money to me to buy organic. Organic oranges and avocados, thanks, I'll pass on those.

But again, it's not matter of taste, it's a matter of choosing what to ingest.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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I think I could distinguish between wild & farmed salmon, also organic fresh carrots and bagged carrots. The one thing I am confident I can distinguish more or less flavour in, is organic vs non-organic celery. I will pay a premium price for almost any organic celery to obtain what I think of as that 'old fashioned flavour'. Has anyone else noticed this?

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I think I could distinguish between wild & farmed salmon, also organic fresh carrots and bagged carrots. The one thing I am confident I can distinguish more or less flavour in, is organic vs non-organic celery. I will pay a premium price for almost any organic celery to obtain what I think of as that 'old fashioned flavour'. Has anyone else noticed this?

Yes! It's so different that I wonder if the organic growers aren't using different varieties. The conventional celery seems so much more pale and pumped full of water. Perhaps there are more naturally pest-resistant varieties that organic growers use that were formerly not considered good for commercial growing because of the smaller size?

However, just because you're buying produce labeled conventional doesn't necessarily mean that it's not organic. I had a very interesting conversation with a large organic fruit grower this summer. He supplies many of Seattle's top restaurants. He said that up to 90% of his organic fruit crops will at times end up being sold as conventional--if he doesn't have an outlet for it, he has to unload it however he can. He sells it to a wholesaler where it's aggregated with produce from other growers, and nobody even knows it's organic anymore. It's so expensive and time-consuming to earn the organic certification that it's worth it to him to sell organic as conventional when necessary. His sweet cherries in particular often get sold as conventional, but also pears, apples, etc.

So, things like this undoubtedly affect people's perception of what "conventional" and "organic" taste like. Any blind taste test you'd want to set up would be suspect unless you could definitively track the production methods for the items you're testing.

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