by - April 27, 2016

Do you choose organic foods? It's a nice idea isn't it?

I really do worry about what goes into food production, more so now I have the responsibility of two small children to feed. Consumer demands for cheaper food and well, demand for food in general, must mean corners get cut or additional processes are applied to our food chain. You read some pretty freaky stuff in the press. So I was really interested to be part of #organicunboxed campaign to learn a bit more about organic foods and try some new products out too.

The Organic Trade Board sent me a mystery box of produce to create recipes with - think middleclass Can't Cook Won't Cook. I assumed it would be more meat, fish and dairy based as I delved in, some ingredients and brands I found I already use, but they sent me ORGANIC GIN! I was already sold :)

The campaign aims to inspire the nation to try more organic cooking, and will include recipes and videos from well known chefs and will be launched by health food queen Madeleine Shaw.

Money no object, I would probably convert everything I can organic but that's just not practical for my family at the moment. But selective organic products don't cost the Earth and I have a fab indie food shop that's opened round the corner. And some frankly just taste better or really are worth investing in. I'd put meat in that class and we've really cut back on meat consumption here, for health, but also to be able to buy a lot better. Organic meat does cost considerably more but then it costs more to produce meat in a respectful way that isn't also pumped full of water and Lord-only-knows-what. Plus I can really tell the taste difference in decent meat so am happy to eat it less and enjoy it more.

Cheap staples like grains I've swapped to organic anyway and the local shop I've already mentioned sells lots of organic veg for little more that supermarket prices. I walk past all the time so it's convenient anyway. I am also thinking to swap over most of my dairy to organic too, especially for my milk guzzling kids.

But why should we really buy organic?
  • Organic crops are obviously exposed to fewer pesticides. GM crops and ingredients are banned in organic farming as are hydrogenated fats, artificial pesticides and some crazy chemicals I can't even spell. 
  • I know animals are cute, but I still like eating them. Even so, I absolutely think they should be reared with respect and care. Meat labelling can be quite misleading. Freedom, welfare, red tractor…even "free range" may not be your idea of being free to roam. Organic livestock, however, are truly free range, meaning they have more space to roam and enjoy high welfare standards. 
  • Organic dairy cows are pasture fed which really comes through in the taste 
  • Supporting farmers and food producers, particularly British and local ones is really important. Organic farming is great for farmers and more environmentally friendly. 
  • Recent research has shown that organic crops are up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants and that both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. You are what you eat and all that.

Anyway as part of the #OrganicUnboxed I was challenged to devise some organic dish recipes with my mystery ingredient box. These will follow in separate posts over the next few days. And no, I didn't just drink the bottle of gin. 

For more information follow or watch their video featuring Madeleine Shaw:

I was sent Organic ingredients to produce some recipes. Words, thoughts and recipes are my own.

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