Is better flavor one of the reasons you choose organic? For a lot of people, it is. But is that real or is it you being predisposed to think organic is just all-around better? We wouldn’t necessarily object if that were the case, but it’s not your imagination.
Our farmers have said for years that it makes sense that organic produce would have a better flavor. And there are several legit reasons it makes sense.
- Organic soils are healthier, richer in organic matter and with a microbiome teeming with a web of life-giving organisms, all working together to help the crops easily absorb the nutrients they need. In essence, organic crops have a healthier diet.
- Because organic farmers add natural forms of nitrogen, the plant absorbs this growth-stimulating element slowly, the way nature intended, rather than the jolt to the system that synthetic, petroleum-based fertilizers provide. In this case, you could say that organic crops have a healthier diet and eat more slowly and consistently, rather than binging on junk food.
- The two points above add up to organic crops having a higher ratio of solids to water – that means more flavor. When less space in the leaf or the berry or stalk is taken up by flavorless water, there’s more space for the stuff that makes the produce taste so good.
Farmers’ wisdom is good enough for us, but if you want to explore some science around this, it’s out there. Back in 2010, Washington State University Professor of Soil Science John Reganold, along with eight other researchers, published a study comparing the quality of organic and conventional strawberries. All the variables were controlled so that the only thing different between the crops was one was grown conventionally and one was grown organically.
The results? The organically grown berries had longer shelf lives, higher antioxidant levels, higher concentrations of ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds and – YES! – tasted better than conventionally grown berries. You can check out the study here.
It’s nice to have science confirm what our farmers have known all along. What does it mean for you? When this year’s holidays may mean smaller gatherings, you still enjoy big flavor with all that extra yummy organic produce you’re fixing. And if you need any recipe inspiration, we’ve got it in spades.