Monday, January 22, 2007

The dynamics of nature & organic food

With the above-mentioned freeze grossly affecting agricultural crops, it also helps to remind us that nature plays a significant role in the dynamic variability of produce.
Wine grape growers are always relating seasonal conditions to the vintage of the wine. It is the weather variations that help to create a vintage wine year. Variations in weather also help to create not so great wine years.
The same also applies for all other fruits & vegetables. A cold spell will cause zucchini to misshapen; cold weather slows growth leading to smaller heads of celery; & prolonged cool weather will the delay the ripening and sweetening of summer fruits.
Here is a recent example that concerns pomegranates. We offer just one comprehensive brand of organic juices: Lakewood. We like their excellent quality - and also that all their juices are made from fresh-squeezed fruit and not from concentrates. However, this also makes the juices liable to vary in quality from batch to batch depending on the availability, quality, ripeness and sweetness of the fruit at the time required for processing.
So, a recent batch of Lakewood Pomegranate Juice arrived that was different to the batch before. It wasn't as sweet and the flavor profile was not as full-bodied. As well as being tart it also contained some astringency that comes from the pith of the fruit (the pith is the dry flesh inside the pomegranate that surrounds the juicy, fleshy seeds).
Does this make the juice bad? Of course not! It might mean that we don't prefer that batch (and, therefore, choose not to drink it) but as organic consumers, we can come to respect and appreciate that nature does play a significant role in providing superbly delicious (and sometimes, not so delicious) foods for us.
Alternatively, we could choose to offer juices that are standardized from concentrates and rarely vary. Hey, Big M does an impressive job of standardizing their burgers across the country (so I'm told) - if that's your beef.
We love it that our foods change - it is part of the wonderful dynamics of organic food.