In the beginning of my juicing journey I was learning my way with produce and figuring out what I could afford to buy local and organic and what I could settle for local or conventional on. I am not certified organic and do not think I ever will be, but I do use lots organic and local ingredients on a daily basis. In today’s wide world of food, I think there is more to consuming consciously than just the certified organic label.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of certified organic farms….but also a fan of local farms who are not certified but who consciously employ organic and environmentally sound practices. If cost was not a thing, I would love to go all certified organic AND local, but in real life I have to make choices about sourcing that are delicious, responsible, and don’t require an $12 per juice price point in Troy. So, when sourcing for my business, I shop like I do at home. Some things I am fully committed to certified organic, and others (like bananas) I make a go with conventional. For me personally and for business I am committed to sourcing locally whenever possible AND having the least amount of food waste possible. This means paying more for certain things, getting them in smaller batches, coordinating with farms for pick up of juice pulp, and utilizing a composting service. This also means working with the farm a couple towns over who employs organic and sustainable practices but has not gone through the certification process. To me, this is still good food.
At the end of the day, some of my produce is always organic…..the things that are just WAY better this way. The number one thing that I ALWAYS buy certified organic is carrots. When I first started juicing I was experimenting with conventional carrots and was extremely depressed by them. They were flawless. Movie star carrots. Perfectly shaped, all identical, and all HUGE….embarrassingly freakishly huge. Bigger than human babies. After chopping one up into 56 pieces and juicing it, the juice was a translucent pale peach color. Gross. It tasted like nothing. Maybe like wet grass. That’s a generous description.
I immediately knew these carrots were not acceptable and moved on to find the right ones. Being a vendor at the Troy Farmers Market is awesome for many reasons, but the best thing for me has been building relationships with local farmers and having easy access to the best local produce around. I soon started getting all of my carrots from a fellow vendor, certified organic and carrot sized. Unlike the conventional carrots, these carrots are imperfect, sometimes weird, varied in shapes and sizes, but always taste exactly the same…..like CARROTS. And the color is bright orange, super carroty in all its glory. These imperfect carrots are so much better than the perfect carrots, I can’t imagine someone judging them based on their appearance, let alone throwing them away. So much produce is thrown away for not being perfect, but in the case of my carrots, the perfect carrots were the worst ones. Guys, we need to stop judging our fruits and veggies on their outward appearance and judge them on something really important……tasting like food. To make the best carrot juice, you need the best carrots, and the best carrots should A) taste like carrots and B) look like something that was grown in the ground. Sometimes we get lucky and it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.