A nice, dark green salad with bright tomatoes, sweet purple onions, and fresh orange carrots. A fresh apple right off the tree that drips juice down your chin each time you take bite. And the peach that you can smell before you even reach the fruit stand. Now that’s fresh produce!

Living here in South Texas, it is difficult to find fresh produce that has ripened naturally. Being a native of Western New York, a wonderful agricultural region, I know what farm–fresh produce is and tastes like. Each fruit and vegetable should have its own flavor, which is not necessarily the experience when they are purchased from a grocery store. One day I bought green beans, green peppers, and a cucumber from my local grocer, and they all tasted the same. I was disappointed and confused. I thought, how much nutrition could there be in these three different foods if they all taste the same?

With that information, imagine eating a salad made with vegetables that have ripened on their way to the grocer and while sitting on the shelf waiting for you to purchase them. Next, imagine that same salad made with vegetables ripened in the farmer’s field and bought on the way home from work from a roadside stand the same day they are picked. Much better, right? For one more twist, in addition to being ripened in the field, it grew as nature intended, not with poisons to keep the bugs off or chemical fertilizers to make it grow bigger faster nor picked before it is ready. Which salad would you choose? Which salad would you avoid?

The same comparison could be made with meat. Which is more appetizing, meat deliciously prepared from an animal that has been penned up and eaten pesticide–treated corn for a lifetime or meat from an animal that has eaten naturally–grown chemical–free grass and/or bugs as intended? It is hard to believe that the meats we purchase from our local grocer are corn–fed, regardless of the type of meat. I’m not too sure that swine, cattle, and fowl are meant to eat the same meals.

What makes organic food so wonderful and priceless is that it is grown as nature intended, without synthetic (man–made) pesticides, petroleum (oil)–based fertilizers, or sewage sludge. Also, the animals are not given antibiotics or growth hormones. Finally, it means that the food is not genetically engineered or treated with radiation. If you believe that you are what you eat, then you have to believe that plants and animals are what they eat. And if they are eating pesticides and hormones then…

Many studies have shown that not only do organic produce and meats provide us with pure food as nature intended but food with greater levels of antioxidants, healthy polyunsaturated fats, iron, zinc and magnesium. Organic dairy products also contain more omega–3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a known cancer fighter.

Fresh has more flavor than one can imagine, but nothing beats fresh and organic.