How to Buy Organic Vegetables

Ever wonder how you can tell whether the vegetables you are buying are organic?  Well, above is a picture of some tomatoes I bought last weekend.  And here are some visual clues to tell whether your vegetable or fruit is organic:

  • Look for uneven sizes — they’ll be an assortment of big and small, middle sizes.
  • Look for uneven shapes.  They won’t all be round, or oval.  In fact some of the shapes will be quite indeterminate.
  • Look for uneven color across the board.  They should not be of one color and tone.  Like these ones for example go from red, to orange, to green to yellow.
  • Look for uneven coloring within each tomato.  So a tomato will be a shade of green on one side and maybe orange on the other.
  • Look for blemishes on the skin.
  • If there is an insect crawling out — that’s good news!! Just cut out that bit and discard.  The good news is what doesn’t kill an insect, doesn’t kill you!

What’s the logic here?

Genetically modified or GM crops are geared towards uniformity.  Why? Because it standardizes the harvest and makes it more commercially suited.  But the more uniform the crop is — the more susceptible it is to insects.  Therefore these crops are LOADED WITH HARMFUL CHEMICALS LIKE PESTICIDES.

And what more, I think organic fruits and vegetables are also a lot prettier! I’d much rather have these tomatoes in a salad than a bunch that are uniformly round and red!!!

Also Check out these other articles on my blog:

The Lesson I learned About Genetically Manipulated food from a little village in The Himalayas

Why did the Andean women grow 4000 species of potoates?

Leave a comment


  1. Your article bears no logic. Its profoundy false and makes ficticious claims. There are no genetically modified food crops in the USA except for corn which is approved only as cattle feed. The only genetically modified crop in india is BT Cotton, which is not a food crop.

  2. “There was a bitter lesson in store for India from the use of the GE crops in the 70s. It produced bigger yields but only for the big, rich commercial farmers.”

    Can you point to evidence for this? What do you have to backup this claim? As a plant genetics engineer, that you call yourself, you should know the difference between hybrids and GM crops. You should also know the the “Green Revolution” was not only about modification of crops but also about govt. policy and storage of food grains as well.

    I’ll wait till you backup the claim i contested.

    • You know what when people really are interested in knowing something it tells in how they ask. Your comment right from the start smacks of attitude. Not interest, not inquiry, but attitude. You are not interested to actually know, otherwise these questions has been asked and answered a million times. 1)In nature all plants hybridize naturally but they do not produce clones. Hybridization leads to more variability even among individuals within a stand. And when humans intervene that variation increases manifold — like in this case of the Andean women growing potatoes. It does NOT go towards monocultures — like GE and GM plants do, where all the individual plants are essentially clones. 2) No the Green Revolution should have addressed storage, distribution and also the issue of middle management because India even today produces more food than it needs and wastes most of it — and even till date it has not been addressed. Here are some reading: Why the Green Revolution was not so green after all, The myth of the green revolution, India’s failed food system. Can organic farming feed India? Yes — if we have efficient systems of delivery, storage, distribution, cut the corruption out. And studies have been done repeatedly on that. Here’s an excerpt from this article, “A seven-year study from Maikaal District in central India involving 1,000 farmers cultivating 3,200 hectares found that average yields for cotton, wheat, chili, and soy were as much as 20 percent higher on the organic farms than on nearby conventionally managed ones. Farmers and agricultural scientists attributed the higher yields in this dry region to the emphasis on cover crops, compost, manure, and other practices that increased organic matter (which helps retain water) in the soils. A study from Kenya found that while organic farmers in “high-potential areas” (those with above-average rainfall and high soil quality) had lower maize yields than nonorganic farmers, organic farmers in areas with poorer resource endowments consistently outyielded conventional growers. (In both regions, organic farmers had higher net profits, return on capital, and return on labor.) “

  3. Good read, I like common sense approaches, thank you

  4. Rita,

    Let me assure you that my comment is in no way different from the “omg! its gonna kill everybody” scaremongering the article you have written, portraying the entire green biotechnology industry in bad light.

    I’m merely asking for evidence. I posted a comment on another article. I want to simply know the math. Please quote the amount of cultivable land we have. Justify organic farming with a population in the year 2020. My question is not very difficult. I’m sure, if organic farming was scalable enough, the answer should be pretty simple. Please advise.

    • Dilip — I am a scientist by training and career, and I would be insane if I viewed all of biotechnology as “bad.” No, technology bio or nuclear or otherwise are not good or bad, it’s the use they are put to, and the incentive with which they are used. To answer your second question it is too simplistic, which is why it has not been asked or answered by anyone in the field. There are too many variables, that is in terms of scientific design the comparison of what the total yield would be for organic vs. GM crops is an in-framable question. There are are all types of crops, different patterns of cropping, and different styles of cropping in traditional agriculture. That’s why you have the kind of studies I’ve cited above to show that organic farming and traditional farming can have higher yields. The first aim of agriculture should be to feed people. And organic/traditional farming they hedge your bets better. Secondly, in all forms of monoculture — GE, GM etc. this is consistent: every year the input of chemicals (hence cost) goes up, and the yields decrease. Another reason you can’t compare. Also check out the documentary film Bitter Seeds, where a village tells its story.

  1. GM Food and My Lesson from a little Village in the Doon Valley « REVOLUTIONS IN MY SPACE
  2. GM Food and My Lesson from a little Village in the Doon Valley … | genetically-modified-foods-and-crops
  3. Will Sikkim Become the ‘Organic Lifestyle’ Model for India and the World? | REVOLUTIONS IN MY SPACE: A BLOG BY RITA BANERJI

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