That’s a big marrow!
I love growing vegetables; although I’ve never grown a marrow anywhere near the size of Mr Marcantonio’s! Every year our modestly-sized lawn seems to be shrinking as we dig up more of it to make way for our vegetable growing passions. A friend emailed me this picture from the Daily Mail last week and suggested it feature in a blog.
Each summer my wife and I get very smug about our home-grown produce. It’s great eating in the garden, happy in the knowledge that we are eating food free from artificial pesticides, fertilisers and heaven-knows whatever else the supermarkets put on our food in! Before discovering vegetable growing we used to buy a lot of organic vegetables. This blog looks into how much better organic food actually is.
I’ve been shocked with what I found out. I rather like the idea of food grown as ‘naturally’ as possible but I fear that many of us have fallen victim to a very big organic marketing con…
It’s trendy to buy Organic!
A couple of years ago, it seemed everyone was into buying organic food. The middle-classes decided ‘organic’ was the thing to do. Jamie Oliver and whole host of other celebrities were telling us to buy organic or grow our own. In fact, unless you were getting an organic ‘veggie-box’ delivered to your door every week then frankly, you just weren’t cutting it! Now the credit-crunch has hit and things have changed. Sales in organic foods have plummeted as us shoppers find it increasingly difficult to justify the premium cost of organic food. But should we just be gritting our teeth and buying it anyway? All those celebrities couldn’t possibly be wrong…
I think that eating food freshly picked from the garden is delicious. But if you were to blindfold someone could they really be able to taste the organic variety from the non-organic?
Is organic food more nutritious?
Sadly no! Lots of research has been done looking at whether organic fruit and vegetables have more nutrients in them. The bottom-line is there seems to be hardly any difference in nutrient content. The most up-to-date research on organic strawberries that showed they had slightly more vitamin C than their non-organic counterparts but were lacking in other essential nutrients (such as potassium).
Is organic food better for the environment?
At least this is what the scientific consensus says at the moment. Because organic food uses fewer chemicals to boost growth, farmers need to use more land and resources planting, maintaining and harvesting it than non-organic methods.
So it is a really a big marketing con then?
Mostly, yes. One of the reasons we may shop organic is that we are scared that there are harmful chemicals on our food. The truth is that every day we actually eat a quarter of a teaspoon of harmful carcinogens (chemicals that can cause cancer). They’re everywhere and an unavoidable part of life; practically all the carcinogens we eat (99.99%) of these are found naturally in our fruit and vegetables – organic or otherwise.
Conventional farmers have to obey strict rules on the amount of pesticides that can be left on produce and in the UK are regularly inspected. So for most of us, the health hazard that residues of pesticides and fertilisers on are food are negligible. This is backed up by a large body of recent research that shows there is no evidence that eating organic has any health benefits at all!
Surely there must be some reason to buy organic?
Don’t go dashing for the value-priced carrots just yet; I stumbled across some hot-off-the-press research showing that organic food may well have some serious advantages. A rather nasty insect killing spray containing ‘organophosphates’ are often used in farming. If you wash your fruit and veg thoroughly to clean any off, then it shouldn’t pose a health problem. These chemicals are designed to kill insects but children seem to be very sensitive to them: Research is at an early stage but they have been linked to ADHD (Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder). If they are to blame then organic food could be the solution; organophosphate levels drop dramatically in children after making the switch to organic food.
Many of the claims about organic food are as about as over-bloated as Mr Marcantonio’s marrow but I’m convinced that our home grown veggies are better than shop bought ones. Where else could you get a J-shaped marrow?! I’d encourage anyone with a garden to give it a go. Growing your own is just, well, satisfying! And as for buying organic food? I wouldn’t break the bank doing it: wash your food well, save your pennies and get yourself an allotment! We’re already thinking about what to plant next year, “Broad beans or tomatoes?”
Thanks for reading – comments and feedback are warmly welcomed!