By Amelia Tucker
One of the things that tie backyard gardeners together is the desire to eat the freshest and healthiest produce they can.
If you are buying your tomato from someone else, how do you know if it is organic?
- Buy locally
- Know your tomato’s history
- Check the sticker number
Buying your tomato locally means you can ask how it was grown.
Find out what fertilizer was used and how the farmer handles insect problems. Ask about the growing practices and general philosophy of the farm that is providing the produce.
Is the farmer using approved organic biologicals to protect the plants, what is he using to keep his plants growing during their heaviest production? Is the farm interested in the stewardship of the land?
This may seem irrelevant but the care of the land ties in with using organics.
Know your tomato’s history.
Is your produce coming from another part of the country or even another country? Many other countries are not held to the same safety and organic standards as American farmers are.
Is it summer? If your tomatoes are being shipped in, they are less likely to be organic as the organic varieties are not bred to withstand the rigors of shipping.
Check the sticker number.
On market tomatoes, there will be a produce sticker. If the number starts with a 9 and is 5 digits long, it means organic.
If the produce number starts with an 8 and is 5 digits long, it means that it has been genetically modified.
Finally, if the number is 4 digits long then it is grown in the standard mega farm way – with chemicals and shipped before they are naturally ripe.