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local or organic?

Local and organic are not always the same.

Where do you live and what produce can you purchase at the local farmer’s market? That’s local. It’s what’s in season and fresh. Not imported to be sold or made into a product locally. In South Carolina, think peaches and strawberries versus bananas and mangos. Local produce is picked ripe and sold in season in a general geographic region. This can translate into fresher, more nutritious food because the vitamins and other nutrients haven’t had time to break down during transit.

Organic needs to be inspected and certified by the USDA. Here in South Carolina, SC Department of Agriculture and Clemson University oversee the process and a lot of information can be found on their website. If a label claims it’s organic, the produce or final product should bear the USDA seal and follow those standards. That seal is your guarantee that the food you’re buying was produced in ways that minimize harm to health and the environment.

One thing to note...individual ingredients in the label can be noted as organic without the seal BUT the full package and advertising can not claim organic without the inspection, certification, and seal. Many makers use all the organic processes like our friends at Lowcountry Creamery but do not bear the USDA seal. It can be a VERY long and laborious process that does not define the quality of the product.

Bottom line...if something you’re buying doesn’t have that seal and still is labeled or advertised as organic, you better ask questions!


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