[NAFEX] Why organic produce is sometimes smaller

mIEKAL aND qazingulaza at gmail.com
Wed Jun 17 10:24:30 EDT 2009

Here's the Environmental Working Group's list of pesticide use ratings  
on fruits & vegetables (for large-scale production).


Which would you prefer right now, one of those gigantic strawberries  
from California available in every big box grocery, or a locally grown  
strawberry picked at the height of ripeness?


On Jun 17, 2009, at 9:14 AM, Brungardt, Sam wrote:

> 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.
> Melissa
> 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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