Q. What is the difference between an organic apple and an apple grown the conventional way?
A. An organically grown apple has not been subjected to any kind of chemical-synthetic treatment; neither has the land or the tree it came from. It has been protected from insects and other diseases only with products accepted by the CEE 2092/91 regulations which are all products of natural origin; it has not been fertilized and, if stored, this has been done without any type of chemical preservation treatment, but with the use of cold temperatures.
Q. How does the choice to farm organically come about?
A. The answer is in our "why organic?" page.
Q. Why is an organic apple ugly?
A. Not always or necessarily is an organic apple ugly or esthetically defective. Rather, it should be mentioned that the crop from an organic apple tree is often heterogeneous: it has, therefore, a dissimilar variety of fruits, some perfect and some slightly imperfect. This results from the type of farming method, which does not allow a chemical selection of the crops in order to provide, at harvest time, only fruits of the same size and quality. On a single tree there can be a parasite in one branch, causing the fruit to be smaller or with slightly imperfect skin. On this same tree, there will be unaffected branches which will generate perfect fruit. The "cosmetic" interventions allowed by our regulations are extremely few.
Q. Why are organic products more expensive?
A. As a rule, an organic farmer prices the products about 10-20 percent higher than the so-called conventional products. This increase is added as a result of the different costs that this farming method causes them to incur (higher rate of product loss, more manual labor, lands that need to be left to rest, companies that cannot be associated with larger unions, therefore excluding it from a series of financial aids, and so forth). Recently, the "Consumer movement" researched this somewhat delicate subject. It was found that this increase on the price should be charged mainly to wholesale distributors and retailers. They, in turn, have their own motives for wholesalers and distributors the system of distribution is more costly due to the distribution over a vast area which includes only a few specialized retailers; they have certification costs, management costs, etc. For retailers: clients are few. However, it is certain that when this increase in price reaches 100% or more, us farmers are completely on our customers' side!
Q. How can I be sure that a product is truly organic?
A. If a product is packaged and labeled with the following:
Q. Is there a single school of thought and a single technique related to organic farming?
A. There is no single organic school or technique applicable "tout-cours" in order to farm organically. There are several criteria which organic farmers must respect, as explain Color ed in the "what is organic farming" page. As for the technique, there is no set pattern, however, after years of experience, a knowledge of the effective methods, their application and nature's responses has been developed. There are also simpler ways to control farming with the organic method, as well as more complex ones such as the growing of apple orchards.
Q. Which are the organizations that certify organic products?
A. In Italy, there are nine organizations authorized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, which provide certifications for agricultural and processing companies. Some useful addresses and other information.
The EU logo for organic products is this:
Q. What should be the main characteristic of an organic apple?
A. For all organic fruits and vegetables, without a doubt, the main characteristic should be its excellence, with an intense aroma, consistency and organoleptic quality. It would also have to include its conservability, since these are products free from any protection given by chemical fertilizers. As for its excellence, I intend the goodness to which we, the Italian consumers, inhabitants of a country, which could've become the European "sierra", were used to. This is a country capable of producing an infinite variety of fruits and vegetables due to its broad expanse. From apples to apricots, from peaches and citrus fruits to medlar trees and so forth, with the "taste" to which people were used to up to some ten years ago.
Q. Does organic agriculture use genetically modified products?
A. The CE 834/07 -889/08 regulations that control the organic sector prohibit the use of ingredients or excipients that have been genetically modified. All the organic farming organizations, starting with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), are committed to impeding the diffusion of genetic engineering in agriculture and food preparation.
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