Are we just fooling ourselves? Food grown naturally is not as perfect in terms of consistent size or appearance as that glossy pile of produce you see in the store, but one bite will tell you it is superior in a different way. Our customers tell us our food tastes better, and we think we taste it too. We also believe that taste reflects the nutrient density of the food. Are we just fooling ourselves? According to studies the clear answer is no, we are not. Local organically raised food is just better and better for you, and here is why. First, local farmers using organic systems just pay more attention to the soil.
Many people might be familiar with the numbers on the outside of any fertilizer bag, This picture is the label from one of custom organic products that we use from Ohio Earth Foods. This particular fertilizer is a granulated composition of feather meal, bone meal, composted chicken manure, sulfate of potash, leonardite ore, and kelp.
The 5-4-5 on this bag represents percentage by weight of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potash, respectively. These are the three key elements for plant growth, the macronutrients… but they are not the whole picture.
You will notice that the pictured product is also rated for Calcium, which plays a key role in helping plants actually use the nutrients that are in the soil and it also stimulates photosynthesis, making for larger, healthier plants. Low calcium might mean that plants can’t use soil nutrients, even if they are present is sufficient amounts.
What you won’t see on most fertilizer bags but are still critical for optimizing plant health and nutrition (and, we believe, flavor) are micronutrients. According to biologists, there are seven essential plant nutrient elements defined as micronutrients [boron (B), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), chlorine (Cl)]. They constitute in total less than 1% of the dry weight of most plants, but can make a big difference in the end product. Our soil tests tell us how much of these elements our soil contains and whether we need to supplement any of them, and because we are using natural organic products such as Re-vita Pro, the contribute these micronutrients as well. You can see this in the full analysis of the product below.
So, we think this is it. Our food is better because our soil biology and soil chemistry is better. But wait, there is more.
Studies show that freshness also plays a huge role in taste (which I suppose is obvious) as well as nutrition of your food. In an article for the Rodale Institute, author Mary Mesenburg makes the case that the amount of nutrition in your food is actually inversely correlated to the time is has been since it was harvested. https://rodaleinstitute.org/blog/why-local-food-is-better-for-you/. I suppose this makes the case even stronger to come to the farm and eat it in the field!
The great news is that all of this supports what our taste buds already knew, locally and organically raised food is just better! Enjoy meeting your farmer and enjoying the best vegetables available this year!
Rob (your personal farmer)