Hitting the Market, Part 3

Some customers at local farmers markets seem to think so. What is the difference between the two?

“Organic is a way of producing food without using certain products like herbicides, pesticides, that sort of thing,” said Richard Sparks, Utah Department of Agriculture. “Some feel its healthier for it to be raised that sort of way.”

Conventional growers use such products to keep insects away, boost production, and can use growth hormones.

Sparks says whether or not Certified Organic produce is scientifically better for you is controversial.

“I don’t know of any imperial studies that show that one is a lot better than the other,” Sparks said.

How can you tell the difference?

“Those who grow organic will advertise it,” Sparks said. “You’ll know just from walking up to their booth if it’s organic. If it doesn’t say organic, it’s likely conventional.”

But, he adds, many growers at local farmers markets are organic to some degree, whether certified or not. The certification laws for Organic growers have changed recently, and it can take years for growers to become USDA certified. Some growers say they are “mostly organic,” meaning they may use some products for spot treatment on their crops.

Volker Ritzinger, organizer of the Park City Market, says one benefit of farmers markets is meeting the farmer. You can ask them their method, face to face.

“A lot of them are pesticide free farmers, which they’re trying to get organic, but it takes a few years to get there,” Ritzinger said. “So, most of the farmers are on their way to get certified organic.”

Joann Parker, owner of Parker Farms, is one such grower. Her farm isn’t certified, but she says they use organic methods.

“We’re considered Farmer Organic,” Parker said. “We’re not certified organic, but we don’t use pesticides or sprays. And we fertilize with natural compost.”

Whether you prefer Organic or Conventional, you can find it all at local farmers markets.

Add comment