Tag Archives: which?

The which? report

You may have read that consumer group Which? has suggested that there appears to be little or no nutritional or taste benefits to growing food organically.

It is very hard to make a sensible comment without knowing how the vegetables were grown, the size of the trial or whether it was replicated as would normally be expected. I would never claim that being organic necessarily guarantees better flavour or nutritional quality. In our experience, flavour and (probably) nutritional quality are a result of:

1. variety

2. soil type

3. growing conditions

4. stage of ripeness or maturity at harvest

5. freshness (time from harvest and post harvest treatment)

I can’t speak for our other growers, but at Riverford we work hard to combine all these factors to give the best flavour. A poor variety grown quickly on Fenland peat with excessive nitrogen can be organic but it can also be disappointing to eat.

On the whole organic growers tend to be more interested in getting these things right, so organic veg is usually better; but it doesn’t have to be. There are of course many other reasons for buying organic, including environmental, animal welfare and absence of pesticide residues.

Guy Watson