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"Organic tastes better"?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 09, 2012 at 3:48 AM

I often hear people say that organic veggies 'taste' better. Meat I understand but that is because the meat actually has a different composition (ie. tougher, leaner, grassfed taste..mmmmm) I don't notice any difference and I don't think it makes much sense. Anyone else agree or am I blind/tasteless?

Note: I eat all organic/local anyways.

4a54d7b05a642c12f54bf9bb7fa1794a

(140)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:48 PM

So we'll ignore the tomatoes. Banana comments stand. :)

870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on April 09, 2012
at 03:17 PM

How about a local, organic hybrid tomato versus a conventional heirloom tomato? ;-)

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on April 09, 2012
at 02:59 PM

I notice that conventional carrots are tasteless too, maybe even have a sharp flavor (almost chemical) to them... organic carrots are much better, sweet and clean flavor, especially the farmers market carrots!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 09, 2012
at 11:54 AM

I'd suspect that strawberries are often chemically ripened, which explains their flat flavor. I refuse to eat grocery store strawberries, they're so tasteless.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 09, 2012
at 11:52 AM

Totally unfair to compare a conventional hybrid tomato to a local, organic heirloom. It's like putting a chicken into the Kentucky Derby, and expecting it to win. :P

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on April 09, 2012
at 11:18 AM

In my experience, wild blueberries and strawberries are smaller but usually taste as sweet or sweeter than cultivated berries. Its just that wild berries loose their sweetness after they are picked quite rapibly. It also depends what kind of species and season the blueberries have. Last year i picked some that werent as sweet as year before. Wild berries are great, one great benefit is the clean forrest bacteria for your gut. I think they are atleast as good as any fermented stuff if not better.

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7 Answers

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0
870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on April 09, 2012
at 01:14 PM

De gustibus non est disputandum.

As well as with our tastebuds, we taste with our eyes, our minds, and our memories of flavor, and personal preferences differ.

Eyes: Back in the day (way back in the day) the organic produce section at Safeway had a small selection of mangy-looking stuff. Fast-forward twenty years and consider the produce section of Whole Foods. The produce (organic and conventional) is staged to a fare-thee-well and looks beautiful. It's trimmed, fluffed, hosed off, restocked frequently, has helpful descriptive signs, and on and on. Visually, it's like walking into Eden (or at least the Gardens of Babylon). The stuff just looks tasty.

Minds: Going a step further, when you go to a farmer's market, or walk out into the forest to harvest berries, you have the pleasure of taking a step back to simpler times with the positive associations that may foster.

Memories: My children don't like my homemade applesauce (which my husband and I think is quite spectacular) because they were first introduced to the bland storebought stuff (sigh).

An additional variable is the variety of the particular food grown. An organically grown beefsteak tomato might not taste as good as a conventionally-grown heirloom variety one, all other things being equal (someone upthread used the example of iceberg versus romaine--same idea). Yet another variable is the freshness of the produce. Asparagus picked yesterday from a local farm is likely to be fresher than the same asparagus flown in from Chile (or wherever) in September.

I'm not aware of any double-blind studies where people sampled two versions of the same food, say strawberries, grown conventionally and organically, head to head, although it sounds like the sort of thing Consumer Reports would do, and this may well have been done.

I think the bottom line is, it depends. I think there's a lot of overlap. A fresh, well-handled, conventionally grown product of a tasty variety might well taste better to you than an older, battered organic product.

2
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 09, 2012
at 10:32 AM

I can definitely taste the diff in root vegetables - potatos, carrots, beets, parsnips. Here in Switz. conventional carrots are tasteless, and the potatoes are dull and boring. Maybe it's that they use a different variety, I don't know. The organic are just so much sweeter. I don't notice as much difference with fruit, aside from strawberries which the conventional are hard and tasteless and the organic sweet and they go moldy really fast.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 09, 2012
at 11:54 AM

I'd suspect that strawberries are often chemically ripened, which explains their flat flavor. I refuse to eat grocery store strawberries, they're so tasteless.

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on April 09, 2012
at 02:59 PM

I notice that conventional carrots are tasteless too, maybe even have a sharp flavor (almost chemical) to them... organic carrots are much better, sweet and clean flavor, especially the farmers market carrots!

2
4303a65967884e68bfae59817c227351

(1881)

on April 09, 2012
at 10:26 AM

I'm with ya. I can't taste the difference between conventional and organic. I can however definitely taste the difference between conventional/organic and local grown food at the markets. So, maybe this is what people are talking about?

2
4a54d7b05a642c12f54bf9bb7fa1794a

(140)

on April 09, 2012
at 04:43 AM

I haven't tried a huge variety of produce, but I can definitely taste the difference between organic and conventional tomatoes and bananas, especially if the tomatoes are heirloom tomatoes. I can't stand most conventional tomatoes on their own, but there are several kinds of heirloom tomatoes I'll gladly eat on their own as a snack. With organic bananas, I can taste a little bit of difference in the flavors, but the biggest difference I can perceive is that conventional bananas frequently cause a tiny bit of burn in my throat and stomach, but organic bananas never do.

870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on April 09, 2012
at 03:17 PM

How about a local, organic hybrid tomato versus a conventional heirloom tomato? ;-)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 09, 2012
at 11:52 AM

Totally unfair to compare a conventional hybrid tomato to a local, organic heirloom. It's like putting a chicken into the Kentucky Derby, and expecting it to win. :P

4a54d7b05a642c12f54bf9bb7fa1794a

(140)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:48 PM

So we'll ignore the tomatoes. Banana comments stand. :)

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 09, 2012
at 11:51 AM

Organic is largely BS. Especially if you're getting it from a supermarket. They simply use approved "organic" chemicals, instead of "synthetic" chemicals. It's only truly organic if you're growing it yourself, you know and control every step.

Definitely like locally grown food over supermarket food. It's like the difference between romaine and iceberg; one tastes like food, the other tastes like water.

0
8fbc7b322f5eb4ca19feecde0bda226c

on April 09, 2012
at 04:51 AM

I can definitely tell the difference between organic and conventional. It is most apparent if you are getting directly from the farm, or picking/harvesting yourself. I think sometimes organic tastes less flavorful from the store, because they pick them so soon and they don't get a chance to ripen and sweeten fully. If you pick organic corn, blueberries, strawberries, carrots, spinach, lettuce etc straight from your garden, it has more flavor than anything store bought. This might be the variation you are referring to. BUT if you already eat straight from the farm, maybe the reason you can't tell the difference, or very little difference. Besides all the chemicals that is :) Bon a petit!

0
78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

on April 09, 2012
at 03:57 AM

n=1

I think organic vegetables don't taste any different. I normally get organic spinach or salad mix and it's pretty much the same.

For fruit, I think organic can taste "worse" BUT more natural. Blueberries come to mind. Organic versions are smaller, less sweet and not as "perfect" looking and plump. But I've grown to love it that way because that's how they're supposed to taste. Same way with apples...they aren't as crisp and juicy, but I prefer it that way now. I prefer them smaller and not overpoweringly sweet. I think it depends on what the produce is. I grew organic tomatoes with my boyfriend last summer and they were freaking amazing.

Grassfed beef, for me, is VERY different in texture and taste.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on April 09, 2012
at 11:18 AM

In my experience, wild blueberries and strawberries are smaller but usually taste as sweet or sweeter than cultivated berries. Its just that wild berries loose their sweetness after they are picked quite rapibly. It also depends what kind of species and season the blueberries have. Last year i picked some that werent as sweet as year before. Wild berries are great, one great benefit is the clean forrest bacteria for your gut. I think they are atleast as good as any fermented stuff if not better.

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