Fresh organic vegetablesWhile much of the hubbub about organic food focuses on health issues, it needs to be said that organic food just tastes much better than conventional food.

Now, like many people who didn’t grow up on organic farms, I ate regular (that is, conventional) food for many years. And it tasted good, I thought.

But as the years rolled by (and, perhaps, my taste became more sophisticated or discerning), I began to realize that much of the food we were eating just didn’t taste quite so great as I thought it ought to.

Although it’s probably unfair to say so, this was borne home to me one day years ago when I decided that we really should take a moment to smell the roses — that is, we should partake of the wondrous ice cream cookie that I’d enjoyed so much when I was younger. And so I brought them home, declaring that we were now going to have a taste treat the likes of which … and then I bit into a concoction of what can only be described as a fake-tasting "chocolate"-covered oatmeal cookie that surrounded a decidedly ice cream-like substance — complete with dead-tasting ingredients and chemical aftertaste. I tried to tell myself that it was great, but this childhood treat wasn’t what I had cracked it up to be and I’d somehow missed that fact all those years ago.

Some years earlier, I found that my mother (always the great cook and not one to cook from cans) was now growing some tomato plants in her garden. Although tomatoes had never been a big hit for me, one day she served one with dinner — and I have to say that it was utterly remarkable. So much so that I can still remember it. It was the difference between some bland, washed-out veggie and the delicious, rare, fragrant, nutrient-dense world of … what I’d call real food. Now, I can’t say that it was organic, but I’m fairly certain that she wasn’t out there dousing the plants with pesticides and the like.

Fast forward. Cardboard-like ice cream cookies aside, we were looking into ways to live and eat healthier. Living in Los Angeles, it was difficult not to hear about health food this and organic that. And, while I’m not talking about unleavened bread and sea weed (with all due respect to those who enjoy that type of food), I am saying that the type of food that we find nowadays in the organic markets we visit is more like my mother’s fragrant tomato. It just tastes better.

There’s also a visual difference. To illustrate that difference, I’d considered purchasing a conventional steak at a local supermarket so that we could do a side-by-side photographic comparison with an organic steak. We may just do that, but suffice it to say that the visual difference is remarkable. Supermarket steaks and meat cuts may look okay, but their organic counterparts put them to shame — healthier, without that depleted, "broken down" look. And without that odd red liquid (whatever that’s supposed to be) commonly used to make supermarket cuts look … fresher, I guess.

The cost? Yes, organic food often costs more. I’d guess it’s because:

  • it’s not grown on a factory farm
  • it costs more to produce

I’d also say that the main benefit is that (a) it’s good for you, and (b) it’s not bad for you. And it’s tastier.

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