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Oct 17, 2006 10:44 PM

Which foods taste WORSE organic?

This post (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... ) got me thinking, contrarian.

Here's my list (in no particular order):

1. Most fruits (fuji apples, texas oranges, peaches, plums, nectarines, melons
)2. Peanut Butter
3. Bread
4. Potato chips and pretzels
5. Olive oil
6. Wine

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  1. Fruits? I've never once had organic fruit that was worse than conventionally grown. In fact, usually, it's far better (especially tomatoes!). And I don't get how organic bread could be any worse than conventional, either, unless you're comparing white bread with quadruple-grain multi-seed barley loaf or something.

    That said, not a fan of any organic peanut butters I've had. Beyond that, the ratio of bad to good is generally better than conventional. I've had some awful organic food, but I've also had some bloody terrible conventional food.

    And I should also say I get creeped out by grapes that are all shaped and sized exactly the same.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MuppetGrrl

      I'm not a fan of most organic peanut butters either, so I just try to buy the natural ones without extra added crap/hydrogenated oils. I either get Traders Joes salted peanut butter or Whole Foods grind-your-own(honey roasted is my fav!)

    2. Corn Chips... I can't abide by Organic Corn Chips, too much 'tooth' :P


      1 Reply
      1. re: Dommy

        Have you tried Que Pasa organic tortilla chips? I totally agree with you about most organic corn chips being to thick, but Que Pasa's are light, crispy and oh so thin. I haven't found a better bagged tortilla chip.

      2. I agree on the wine, a few I've tasted (and overpaid for) were very bitter and this might draw criticism...but, organic dairy products don't taste right to me.

        10 Replies
        1. re: HillJ

          Which organic dairy are you talking about specifically? An industrial producer like Horizon? Or a smaller scale family farm operation like Strauss? The difference is night and day.

          1. re: Morton the Mousse

            Morton..I can't say I've tried them all but in my area (NJ) I've tried milk thru grocer & health food chain, cheese my cheese shops and yogurt from Whole Foods. It was the after taste that turned me off. Do you have recommendations I can find in my area?

            1. re: HillJ

              Supermarket dairy is passable at beest. Heck, supermarket anything is passable at best.

              For cheese: small, family farms in Europe and North America tend to use organic methods even though they can't afford organic certification. Cheese is a great example of when the line between "organic" and "not-organic" gets fuzzy. Either way, the worst cheese is the stuff produced by mega-dairies with diseased cattle a la Kraft Foods.

              For milk and cream: seek out a local purveyor. A good place to start is the Eat Well Guide.


              1. re: HillJ

                Have you tried any of Ronnybrook's products? You can get them at Whole Foods in Edgewater and Ridgewood, and at the Fairway in Fort Lee.

                1. re: MaspethMaven

                  Thanks MM, I'll look for that brand next time.

                2. re: HillJ

                  I only buy organic milk products at Trader Joe's and they're the best I've tasted. I once bought some regular milk at a nearby market in a pinch and had to chuck it. Most organic milk (unlike TJ's) is ultra-pasteurized for long shelf life, which makes it taste weird, imo.

                  I'm in California, though, and TJ's dairy products may vary regionally. Also, we don't really have any small, local purveyors, so those aren't part of my selection process. Would love to have access to places like Ronnybrook or Butterworks Farm.

                  1. re: emily

                    Trader Joe's in Northern California has two house brands of organic milk. The non-homogenized "cream top" one comes from Straus in Marin County, so it's local.

                  2. re: HillJ

                    Amish Country Farms Organic Milk is fantastic. I drink the skim and use the whole for cooking. I'm in NYC so you should be able to get it in Jersey.

                3. I'm with the vote for Wine. I had one once that was passable. I think because the market just isn't there to sustain it.

                  1. Your list suggests that you're seeking out the wrong organic purveyors. There is a whole world beyond the organic section at your local supermarket. I'm the first to admit that most "industrial organic" food tastes terrible. But there is nothing better than organic food grown by small, integrative farms and processed using artisinal methods. If you lived in SF, I'd challenge you to find:

                    1) a conventional peach that tastes better than the organic, Red Haven variety grown by Ram Das Orchards.
                    2) A nut butter that tastes better than Living Tree Communities organic almond butter.
                    3) A loaf of bread that tastes better than Acme's organic Pain au Levain
                    4) The best potato chips are made from scratch and fried to order. Bagged chips are mostly "eh" salt bombs.
                    5) I just did a comprehensive tasting of EVOO in Napa Valley and the clear winner was Round Pond, a small grower that, though not certified organic, uses organic methods. Most Italian EVOO, though not certified, is grown and manufactured using organic methods.

                    This is not to say that all organic peaches taste better than all conventionally grown peaches. The categories "organic" and "conventional" are so large in scope, and there is such a range of quality and variety of products within each category, that any such generalization would be patently absurd.

                    Bottom line: high end products made using organic/artisinal/slow-food methods, regardless of certification, tend to taste better than those cranked out by a machine. It seems obvious to me that when a producer prioritizes quality above all else that the end result will be superior.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Morton the Mousse

                      I tend to disagree (at least partially)

                      I prefer locally grown to organic ... 10 out of 10 times.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        maybe i am naive and uninformed....but if I go to my local farmers market and buy from a small farmer, aren't his fruits and veggies "organic" without going through the certificaton process? Or not?

                        I usually just buy local - I live in southeastern PA and buy from local (usually lancaster area or jersey) farms.

                        1. re: DanielleM

                          No, not necessarily.

                          Farmers market and/or local does not equal "organic" (whatever that term may mean)

                          1. re: DanielleM

                            Organic is a very widely and sometimes incorrectly used term. Being certified is just an identifing process by which we can shop, however true organic foods as descibed by the Organic trade Asc is as follows:
                            Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Organically produced foods also must be produced without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering and other excluded practices, sewage sludge, or irradiation. Cloning animals or using their products would be considered inconsistent with organic practices. Organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food.

                            the whole article is like several pages long but this is the basic.

                          2. re: ipsedixit

                            "I prefer locally grown to organic"

                            You state that as if it's an either/or question.

                            I prefer locally grown to organic produce from a foreign country. But the best local farmers use organic methodology, even if they eschew certification.