More organic food retailers and organic food markets are popping up in most towns and cities.
Buying organic food both in stores and online is available to almost everyone.
Organic food retailers were primarily farmer’s markets until the late 1990s when we started seeing these foods on the shelves of major retailers.
The competition from huge retailers may become a problem for the smaller stores that started the movement according to recent news.
According to the OTA (Organic Trade Association) more than half of organically grown fruits and vegetables are now being purchased at mass market retail stores like Wal-Mart. Only about 40% are purchased at farmer’s markets and small all-natural retail stores like Whole Foods.
The large stores can offer consumers healthier foods at better prices. So far, the competition has not hurt the small retailer. The number of farmer’s markets actually grew by 16% between the years of 2008 and 2009.
People enjoy shopping at outdoor markets. They believe the foods are fresher. They know they taste better. The taste of the tomato is an example often referred to. Hot-house tomatoes and those that ripen during transportation have very little taste. They tend to be mushy on the inside and hard on the outside. They are mostly seeds and water. There is less fiber and less nutritional value.
Better nutritional value is one of the advantages of buying organic food. The advantage was a subject of some debate for years with conventional farmers arguing there was no proof that crops grown or livestock raised organically were higher in nutritional value or better in any other way.
The results of the 5 year Quality Low Input Food Study provided the proof. Here are some of the highlights of the study.
Organics provide more antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
Studies indicate that consuming more antioxidants and omega-3 fats may reduce our risks of age-related cancer and heart disease. Farmers have known for many years that feeding mostly corn to livestock resulted in meats that were lower in omega-3s, higher in omega-6s.
Consuming more 6s than threes increases your risk of chronic inflammation, which plays a role in cancer, heart disease and even wrinkles, because it degrades the skin’s collagen fibers.
Organics contain fewer heavy metals.
Some heavy metals such as lead are naturally present in the soil. Others like mercury may be present in the air, depending on where the farm is located.
It would not be honest for organic food markets to say their produce is “free” of heavy metals. But the research proves that the levels of those contaminants are much lower than what is found in conventional non-organic foods.
There is a reduced risk of salmonella contamination.
Salmonella has been in the news several times over the last few years. While the illness it causes is not life-threatening to most people, it can kill the very young, the very old and those with weakened immune systems.
Organic food retailers have much to offer, even in terms of convenience. Many organics are now available for order over the internet.
Fun With Potatoes - Mr. Potato Head
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