January 3, 2013 5:38 pm at 5:38 pm #607688
Hi everyone! Where in the Boro Park/Flatbush areas can I buy organic apples that won’t cost me a fortune?
Thanks!January 3, 2013 6:47 pm at 6:47 pm #917444The little I knowParticipant
I suggest you search Consumer Reports or similar publications for exposes about the “organic” agricultural products. Last time I read the articles, they indicated that this “organic” market has no way of establishing that the products ostensibly grown under “organic” conditions are the same as those sold as such. It suggested that it is as likely to buy fruit in any old supermarket or fruit store that not labeled anything and it is actually grown by an “organic” grower as it is to purchase from a specialty “organic” store and to wind up with fruit grown under regular conditions. Maybe something changed, but I got the message that the “organic” industry is completely unreliable to bring their products to market.January 3, 2013 7:01 pm at 7:01 pm #917445greatestMember
There’s a food cooperative on Cortelyou around E. 13.
That being said, organic food is no better or healthier than non-organic.January 3, 2013 7:17 pm at 7:17 pm #917446yaakov doeParticipant
I assume that the Flatbush Food Co-op on Cortelyou Rd has them. I often wondered, how one really knows that the so called “organic” food is really organic. Are there equivilents to hechsarim? What keeps someone from selling regular produce as organic?January 3, 2013 7:45 pm at 7:45 pm #917447apushatayidParticipant
To qualify as organic, according to the USDA – “crops must be produced without conventional pesticides (including herbicides), synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.”
Yum.January 3, 2013 7:52 pm at 7:52 pm #917448
Yaakov Doe: Yes, there is equivalent to hechsarim. Organic certification agencies inspect farms. They are very strict. A farmer has to cease using non-organic inputs for three years, and only after that can the produce by certified organic. The federal government (USDA) promulgates organic standards, which are enforced by certification agencies. Many organic growers intentionally go “beyond” organic by using additional practices they’ve developed.
There are some small farms who use organic methods, with no spraying of pesticides or artificial fertilizers, yet who don’t get organic certification because of the cost. If you go to a farmer’s market, some farmers will have signs saying “no spray.” It’s not as reliable as organic certification, but many people trust the individual farmers and enjoy getting to know them as they buy from them each week.
As for whether it’s healthier, there are conflicting studies. Many studies show that non-organic produce contains small amounts of pesticides. The effects on health of such small amounts are in most cases unknown but as these are often carcinogens or hormone-disrupting chemicals, many epidemiologists believe they may have negative health effects.
Other studies have shown that organic produce has more vitamins and anti-oxidants than non-organic produce — so while it costs more, you may be getting more nutrition. Other studies have contested this finding, and claim that there is no difference. Mark Bittman has a good recent column critiquing a recent study that purported to show organics are no better.
In my opinion, it is probably better for health, though we can’t know for sure and it depends on the vegetables (some absorb or are grown with more pesticides than others). What’s not controversial is the fact that organic agriculture pollutes far less than non-organic. Pesticide run off kills fish and aquatic wildlife, and has created a huge “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly all this pollution is unececessary, because organic methods produce similar or even higher yields (though labor costs are higher).January 3, 2013 8:27 pm at 8:27 pm #917449yaakov doeParticipant
YYTZ- While there may be inspection on the farms and orchards the apple passes through many hands before it get to your local store. There is no double wrapping or seal and a tremendous monetary incentive to fabricate the organic status. I also assume that there is no Yiras Shamayim among the purveyers.January 3, 2013 9:02 pm at 9:02 pm #917450
Yaakov: Well, there are stickers on many organic produce items. Regardless, organic advocates have some complaints about the system, and it may not be perfect (as with hechsherim as we all know), but I’ve never heard that there is a widespread problem with produce being labelled as organic that is not organic.
In the store I normally shop at, the store owners mainly buy from local producers who drive straight there from the farm, and large organic farms in California that distribute their produce across the country. There are not numerous middlemen. The store owners strongly believe in organics, and would not buy from any distribution company if there was the slightest suspicion of that company falsely labeling something organic. They may or may not fear Heaven, but they respect their own newfangled eco-ethics, that’s for sure.January 3, 2013 9:23 pm at 9:23 pm #917451TheBearIsBackMember
If it were not for pesticides and fungicides, there would be a much larger “dead zone” consisting of hundreds of rows of gravestones of young and middle-aged people who fell prey to infections and even yenne machle caused by pests and fungus. I live in the developing world, and I know what real “organic” produce looks like. It is reminiscent of the euphemism “organic fertilizer,” which is what primitive farmers use and which attracts disease-causing organisms. I throw out half of what I buy, unless I go to a store that does the sorting for me.
Organic certification is worth the same as the bogus hechsherim that crop up now in EY among lefties who want to protest the rabbanut and fool customers at the same time. Both an organic apple tree and a regular one are often treated with the same sulfur-based chemicals. They come from the ground (der erd) and they wash off easily, so smart farmers who use sulfur pesticides get away with calling their fruit organic – and the organic associations accept it as same. Same deal with other organic pest controls – everyone uses beneficial bacteria to control agricultural pests now.January 3, 2013 9:34 pm at 9:34 pm #917452
BearIsBack, I’ve never heard the claim before that organic produce actually kills people. I don’t think that’s correct. Food poisoning outbreaks have occurred with both organic and non-organic produce; I’ve never seen evidence that it’s organic methods as such that cause the outbreaks.January 4, 2013 2:18 am at 2:18 am #917453TheBearIsBackMember
🙂 that is because organic in the US is not true organic. As I wrote above, organic in the US allows the use of many of the same products as non-organic does.
I do not think you can use fresh organic fertilizer of horse or cow origin, which causes outbreaks and attracts insects, in the US.
True organic would probably also include the old Gush Katif vegetables.January 4, 2013 2:38 am at 2:38 am #917454rebdonielMember
Organic is fraudulent.
Buy stam apples and peel them and wash them and that should eliminate any chashash of pesticides.January 4, 2013 2:52 am at 2:52 am #917455yehudayonaParticipant
Properly composted cow or horse manure doesn’t cause outbreaks of anything or attract insects.
I have a vegetable garden and I don’t use pesticides. I’m not an organic-only type, but I happen to use organic fertilizer (not manure; stuff like blood meal and bone meal).
That said, I think organic is a rip off. The prices are way out of line. I can’t imagine that it’s possible for someone who’s serious about tolaim to buy certain kinds of organic vegetables (e.g. broccoli).January 4, 2013 3:58 am at 3:58 am #917456
Ok so what is the bottom line? Is it possible to actually buy pesticide free apples? Or will I be paying extra for nothing? Maybe I should just plant my own apple tree…January 4, 2013 6:09 am at 6:09 am #917457rebdonielMember
That would be nice. Let me know when it’s the proper zman and we’ll come and make birkat hailanot come Nissan time.January 4, 2013 3:57 pm at 3:57 pm #917458
WIY: Yes, organic produce, unlike most non-organic produce, does not contain pesticides. But don’t base your opinion of organics on CR posters alone. I recommend reading a recent article by Mark Bittman, “That Flawed Stanford Study.” Planting your own apple tree is also a good idea — a single tree can produce a huge number of apples each year, once it’s mature.January 4, 2013 4:20 pm at 4:20 pm #917459
But I’m sure there’s a lot of defrauders out there. How do I know who is selling the real deal?
Is it possible to grow a granny smith apple tree in Brooklyn’s climate? How many years would it be until I have full grown apples?January 4, 2013 5:21 pm at 5:21 pm #917460
WIY, I’ve never heard of people selling fake organic food. It might occasionally happen, but there’s no way it happens on a large scale. Organic agriculture is practiced by thousands of farms, some of them very small, but it’s big business — and some of these California farms are huge corporations. Corporations like that don’t mess around when it comes to counterfeit goods. If people were selling fake organics, the industry wouldn’t stand for it for a minute.
If fraud were really an issue, the best place to go would probably be a health food-oriented food co-op, because the people running the place really believe in organics. At the (out of town) place I shop, I think they actually subsidize the prices of organic produce to make it less expensive than it would be otherwise, to encourage people to buy produce rather than processed food.
Sorry — I’m not a good source of information on how to grow apple trees in Brooklyn. I’m sure there are nurseries there with knowledgeable people. It would probably take a few years, unless you bought a pretty mature tree. You would have to make sure you pick the apples so there isn’t a big mess of rotting apples piling up under the tree (as happens with apple trees planted outside of stores where I live.)
If you have the time, though, and Brooklyn’s climate will allow it, that would be a fun thing to do. I’d like to have my own apple or pear trees one day myself. I’ve had my own community garden plot for the last couple years, which is a nice way to grow a lot of cheap vegetables, making my family eat more veggies than we otherwise would.January 4, 2013 7:43 pm at 7:43 pm #917461truthsharerMember
Penn&Teller did an episode on organic food. It’s not kosher viewing, so maybe just listen, but they totally destroy the organic market. They interviewed food experts, had taste tests, etc.
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