The current issue of Time magazine focuses on the organic food debate. One segment includes the results from a blue-ribbon panel of nine New York chefs who reveal their preferences in a taste test: Farm vs. Supermarket.
Although the subtitle of the article leads you to believe that “organic and small-farm products aren’t always better,” the results indicate a definite lean toward preferring organic. In four out of seven of the tests, organic was the winner and in two of the tests it was a draw between organic and nonorganic. Even the preference for beef (grass-fed vs. grass-and-grain-fed prime steak) points toward an inclusion of grass in the cow’s diet, as opposed to a totally grain-fed piece of meat.
The two taste tests that each ended in a draw were for carrots and goat cheese. Both the Organic Bunny Love carrots and the Dole non-organic carrots were “almost exactly the same,” according to Chef Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy.
Anne Saxelby, owner of Saxelby Cheesemongers, tasted the organic and nonorganic Farmstead goat cheeses. Her conclusion? “Cheese needs milk–and milk, like wine, needs terroir. The pasture, the cheesemaker’s prowess and the technique–that’s where you get your flavor. These two cheeses are equally delicious; there really is no difference.”
The other tests, in which organic was the winner over nonorganic, focused on white nectarines, tomatoes, pork, chicken, and eggs. (With all the violations among Iowa egg producers right now, who wouldn’t choose organic? And local!)
I was glad to see these results from the New York panel, which, by the way, also included the following chefs:
Joey Campanaro of The Little Owl