[NAFEX] Why organic produce is sometimes smaller

Brungardt, Sam Sam.Brungardt at state.mn.us
Wed Jun 17 10:14:48 EDT 2009

Melissa, my guess is that the plant hormone that was discussed in class
was GA, or giberellic acid.  -- Sam Brungardt, St. Paul, Minn.
-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Melissa Kacalanos
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 9:12 AM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: [NAFEX] Why organic produce is sometimes smaller

About organic produce being smaller: I had a plant physiology text that
had a little aside about a commercial use of one of the plant hormones
it was discussing. This hormone, when sprayed on grapes, doubled yield!
Wow, what a great thing, right? (Sorry, I don't remember the name of the
hormone.) But the textbook also said that this wasn't useful for raisin
production, as it didn't increase dry weight, just total weight. It was
only used for fresh grapes.

Reading between the lines, this hormone just makes grapes bloat up with
water. When you buy a pound of conventional grapes, half your money is
buying half a pound of water. Putting my education to use, the next time
I went shopping, I bought some small, expensive, organic grapes. What a
revelation! I realized that these were real grapes, and all the
conventionally-grown grapes I'd eaten before were really diluted. I
think they were just Red Flame Seedless, not a particularly flavorful
variety, and they weren't local, so freshness wasn't the difference. The
difference was that they were organic. That small, expensive organic
produce can be a better deal after all.

I don't know how this relates to current conventional grape-growing
standards, but I haven't noticed conventional grapes getting any more
flavorful. I also don't know how it relates to current legal organic
standards, since I can see an argument that a plant hormone is "natural"
but I certainly hope organic growers can't legally water down their
produce like this. Maybe the general policy of watering down produce is
why consumers are losing interest in eating it.


	when I go to a farm market around here and compare organic to
other stands, the offerings are relatively poor and expensive in
general, especially when it comes to fruit. 
	...the organic produce grown here costs literally twice as much.

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