By Jesame Geldenhuys
What is organic? We often hear the phrases ‘free-range,’ ‘natural’, ‘organic’ but what does it all mean? Earth’s Produce opened in Grahamstown just a few weeks ago and since then has been supplying the town with fresh, healthy and organic fruits and vegetables.
“My husband and I moved here to get to know where our food came from,” says Denise Williamson, owner of Earth’s Produce. Plump and colourful fruits and vegetables bask in all their glory around her quaint shop and the evidence of being deemed organic is picked up in an instant.
“We source our products from organic farms around the area; including two certified organic farmers and a local farm that uses Aquaponics,” says Williamson, a combination of aquaculture with hydroponics for food production.
Smooth, plump butternuts; bright, green broccoli and even living-lettuce (lettuce sold with its roots attached) makes it impossible to resist the freshness and quality of the textures, shapes and tastes that Earth’s Produce offers.
“Your food isn’t sprayed with toxic chemicals, and today you can’t buy much food like that. I’m absolutely loving doing organic and learning more and more about it as I go along,” explains Williamson.
Organic farming is a natural farming method that uses environmentally and animal-friendly processes; prohibiting the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or other artificial chemicals. “Organic starts right from the seed you use to the soil,” explains Williamson while describing the health benefits of organic produce. “It’s a whole science.”
The main difference between organic and commercial farming is the labour intensiveness. While the commercial crop just sprays, organic farming goes into complex methods to ensure the quality of the produce. To replace pesticides and insecticides, other materials are used to make different sprays, such as pure soap or chilli infusions. “Other interesting tricks like planting Marigolds close to the produce to keep plant pests away are also used,” adds Williamson.
Earth’s Produce supports and stocks a range of local, delicious produce and other products like hummus and home-made sauces and goodies. They also have a side salad bar where you can quickly whip up your own salad if you are needing lunch on the go.
“In a shop like this, it’s personal and we get to know each-other ,” says Williamson.
“Support organic for nutrition and health.”
Read more about AFRISCO organic standards in South Africa at http://www.afrisco.net/Html/Product_Stardards_Definitions.htm
What is organic farming? http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/organic-farming.htm