Organic Produce: Is It Worth The Extra Money?



Organic Produce: Is it worth the extra money?

Pesticides, fertilisers, GMOs…all of these artificial chemicals and toxins are saturating the food we eat. In a world full of chemicals, how do we best avoid putting these nasty toxins into our bodies? Today, Janet is heading to Ripe Organics at Prahran market to talk to Paul about which fruit and veggies are best bought organic and get to the bottom of why we should even eat organic.

Here’s what we cover:

  1. Why should you buy organic produce?
  2. if going full organic isn’t feasible, what are the most important thing to buy organic?
  3. Broad acre farming vs. Boutique organic farming
  4. It’s not just fresh fruits and veggies. Other grocery lines you may want to think about buying organic.
  5. Organic Certification
  6. If it is advertised as organic, how to be sure it actually is organic.
  7. Where does Ripe Organic source most of their produce?



Janet Roach: Hi everyone, Janet Roach here, Raw Essentials Tea, International Tea Master, mad dog lover, think you all know the drill now. Today I am here with the wonderful Paul Smith. Now, Paul owns Ripe Organics at the Prahran Market, which is where I live, and I asked him if he would come today and talk to you a little bit about organics.

Hi, Paul, how are you?

Paul Smith: Fabulous. I’m really good. I’m glad you popped in.

Janet Roach: Good.

Paul Smith: Yeah, it’s good. The sun’s out, it’s kind of warm, it’s not so wintry.

Janet Roach: We’re having the most amazing winter though, so far aren’t we?

Paul Smith: A little scary, but you know, there’s some rain coming so it’ll be nice.

Janet Roach: Climate change isn’t bad for everyone. Ah okay, not a good thing to say. All right, so…

Now I want to ask you, Paul, a couple of really important questions, things that, even though I eat organic, I want to ask the expert. What is the real deal? I’m just wondering, can you hear us? Are we loud enough?

So, Paul, why should I buy organic?

Paul Smith: Well, firstly, I think it’s a lifestyle choice. I think people want to do it, I think it’s a lifestyle choice really. You know, there are many things in life that you want to spend your money, and I think food for your own body is pretty important. We insure our car, we insure our houses, and then sometimes we just destroy our bodies, and I really think, simply eating really fresh healthy food, buying organic food, I think is just a little bit extra bonus in life, and I think you make a decision in life, whether you really want to go that way.

Janet Roach: I also think that it has a lot to do with your health, and we always talk about things like your health is your wealth. There’s no point in going out and making millions of dollars if you’re then infirmed and can’t get around.

So one of the other things that, like I said, obviously I always eat organic, we’re talking about just fruit and vegetables at the moment. If I was, say, someone who had four kids, and organic is more expensive, but I think it’s worth it because I’m only feeding two people. But if I was feeding six people, what would you say would be the most important thing to buy organically? What are the most contaminated things?

Paul Smith: Well, again, contaminated, I’m not going to talk about contamination in detail.

Janet Roach: Obviously contamination’s not the right word.

Paul Smith: There’s things that are very porous, things like berries and broccoli, you know, potatoes under the ground are really susceptible to a lot of mold and infection, so those, probably potatoes, broccoli, carrots. Pineapples, apparently, are really the one to buy as well.

I think it’s, again, it’s what you want to eat in your household and what you can afford, and you pick those six or seven vegetables that you base your weekly meals on, and I would go with that first. If you’re planning your meals, plan three or four and make them organic, things like that, I think that’s where you start. Start with your meal prep, and what you’re going to buy each week, and then see what you can incorporate in your budget.

Janet Roach: Well you all know that I’m a mad organic gardener, and I’m so glad that you say broccoli, because I grow broccoli, and let me tell you, I would imagine that they would have to put so much spray on that because it’s very very susceptible to this white mold, and what I would have to do is put a paper bag around the heads of the broccoli, because otherwise I just had so much difficulty. I mean, I don’t mind giving the bugs some of it, and that’s my program, but I just couldn’t get a crop out of it, so definitely, definitely broccoli.

I was thinking about things that are going under the ground, so like potatoes as you say. Now someone told me, I don’t know how true it is, that I sort of was saying ‘look at these carrots, and potatoes, and thing’s like that, they’re under the ground, and they’re foliage is at the top, and the bugs aren’t going to get it, it’s not a big deal’, but apparently, what they do is they clear the field, they spray it with the glyphosate, they put it all in, and then plant the crops, so whether they’re on the top of the ground or the bottom of the ground, they’re still getting this.

Paul Smith: Yeah, and I think that also gets to broad acreage farming, when you’re doing large volumes to supply supermarkets, large quantities of things. So, most organics are really small, small boutique farming, so I think they have more concentration on how they can look after it and watch it, whereas broad farming is massive acreage, you know, same as cattle. We eat a lot of meat in this country, so we have hundreds of millions of acres in the middle of the country for cattle, and you try to look after that cattle, it’s pretty hard to at times.

So there’s all those kind of things you really want to think about.

Janet Roach: Okay then, we were talking before, I was saying, yes like vegetables, I always think of it in terms of fresh fruit and vegetables. But, you brought up an amazing point, what about things like

Paul Smith: Your grocery lines, you know, you’ve got all the grocery lines, and then from that, the things you’ll eat go into the things that you put on your face, the things you wash your hair, the things you clean your house with, it’s kind of a whole package-

Janet Roach: You freaked me out.

Paul Smith: It’s kind of a whole package, at times, when you look around and you look at the back of certain bottles and you see what’s in them, and then you go and look at what those things actually are and read up on those.

There’s a big contrast in different foods, cosmetics, cleaning products, so it’s a real research thing, to go and have a look. And a lot of people now, I’d say ten years ago, people didn’t look at cleaning products or cosmetics. In the last ten years, how many organic, even the big makers do organic lines,

Janet Roach: There’s got to be a reason for that, there’s a market for it because people are realizing that it’s really affecting their health. Now, I wrote a book called ‘The Truth About Detoxing’, if you would like to get this book, let me tell you, you will be absolutely amazed. One of the things that I will dispel is that you do not have three pounds of compacted faeces in your colon. There’s some very very amazing things in this book, if you want to get yourself a free copy of it, go to the directions, click directions, hit the link in there, and get yourself a free copy.

It would be very, very interesting, there’s a lot of fallacy and myth around detoxing, and I’d love you to have a look and find about it. So other things that we’re talking about with Paul are…

Paul Smith: Well we talked about certification, how you actually know that things are organic.

Janet Roach: Yes, how?

Paul Smith: So, there’s several bodies in our country. Our three main ones are ACO, Australian Certified Organic, NASAA, and Emita, and then we have a few other small ones. There’s the European one, which is kind of like the European Union star logo, we have Soil Association in England, we have-

Janet Roach: Do you think that any are better than others? Do you think that there’s a-

Paul Smith: I actually really don’t the structures of their integrity image things, compared to ours, but I’d say they are all pretty highly looked at and highly regulated as well.

Janet Roach: Well then let me ask you this, are you allowed, or do you know the answer to this, are you allowed to put the word organic on, like there is a line of organics in Aldi, are they actually organic or is that just the name organic in their name, are you allowed to do that or does it have to be organic if you say organic?

Paul Smith: You have to look on the product that they’re selling, and they would be all certified organic. I would say they’re all certified organic. But we don’t have legislative law in government that says ‘organic means, la DA DA DA DA DA DA’, it’s an industry that is not government regulated.

Janet Roach: No.

Paul Smith: Well there’s no, anyone can write organic on it, there’s no real written legislation by state official government on that. So the certifying bodies are the ones that go round and check the farms, all our boxes all have certification on them, so it’s an industry that’s pretty much self-regulated and has been for a long time.

Janet Roach: So then, do you tend to put your stuff from smaller, boutique farms? Or, where would you source a lot of your produce from?

Paul Smith: Well most organic farmers are quite small, there’s not many large, broad suppliers. Maybe in meat, I don’t know, and then that kind of thing, and eggs, although even the eggs aren’t that big. The dairies are very small, all the cheese producers are very small, so now when there’s a drought, we’re really short, and it sort of goes from milk first to yogurt, to butter and that, in scales of what they make. Because, in north we get a lot of stuff from Queensland, and there are a lot of droughts, so their milk production’s very low. Whereas we get a lot of production from Warrnambool, so their production’s always pretty good, so it varies up and down and across the country on rainfall, water.

Janet Roach: But you know here, at Ripe, I noticed that they have skincare, everything that you can think of that you can get from the supermarket, they have bread, yogurt, milk, nuts, everything that you can think of, and it’s organic, so it’s really worth coming down. So tell everyone where you are.

Paul Smith: So we’re at Ripe in Prahran Market, shop seven, we’ve been here since 2001, August, so 18, nearly 19 years, I know, it’s gone like that.

Janet Roach: You’re giving away your age now, Paul.

Paul Smith: So yeah, we’re here every day, I’m here pretty much every day. My staff are amazing, and I have two business partners too, they’re always here, so come and say hello, come and have a chat.

Janet Roach: And they can come and ask you questions, and what you recommend and what sells and-

Paul Smith: Yeah, what’s in, what’s good, what’s come in this week, what’s coming up, what’s in season. The thing with organic, we’re very seasonal. Things come and go like that, very quickly, we don’t drag things out. Nothing’s imported, we might get the odd thing from New Zealand but very rarely. Pretty much everything’s from Australia, even the fresh fruit and veg, as are groceries all around the world.

Janet Roach: So it doesn’t come from a long way, so we’re starting with that sort of thing. Now I just want to tell you one more that, you know that I’ve written a book on detoxing called ‘The Truth About Detoxing’, you’ve got to get yourself a copy, you’re going to die when you read it. It’s for free, you go to the directions and push the link, we’ll send you a free copy. You’ve got to get on the internet and have a look at our tea challenge, we’re up now and everyone’s talking about, some of our people are losing two and three kilos on the tea which is fantastic, and sleeping like they’ve never ever slept before.

Get onto Facebook and have a look, get on and have a look at how the challenge is going, it will amaze you. Love to hear from you all, keep the comments coming, and I look forward to speaking to you next week. Janet Roach, bye.

Paul Smith: See ya.

Janet Roach: Paul, thank you for coming,

Paul Smith: No worries. Great, all good.


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