Growing up in Cyprus in the 80s-90s the words “organic”, “biological”, “antioxidants” were hardly heard or mentioned. It is only in the 2000s, and especially the last 3-4 years that Cypriots have become more aware and conscious of the benefits of organic and biological products and actually started looking for them.
What I am wondering is, do we actually know what these words mean and what the benefits are? Or are we just trend followers (something that Cypriots know how to do very well!).
What does the term “organic mean?”
Organic products are the ones that are grown and produced without any pesticides, no petroleum-based fertilizers and sewage sludge-based fertilizers, no genetically modified products or other antibiotics and hormones.
How do we know it is organic?
Usually a certain percentage of the product must be produced organically (usually 95%) and it is then allowed to say so on the packaging.
Is it really good for you?
It is not 100% proven that organic products are more nutritious than the non-organic products, but what is sure is that you know what you eat (which is good especially since you are what you eat!), you know the products are safer towards the environment since less pesticides and genetically modified products are used (also bad for soil quality).
Are organic products more tasty?
Taste is subjective, but what we can say is that organic products are usually fresher since they do not contain preservatives to make them last longer, and fresher food usually tastes better.
Is it true that organic meat implies better animal treatment?
Yes it is true, firstly because animals are allowed to walk and move freely. Also no growth hormones and antibiotics are given to them. Animals which are given the largest amounts of antibiotics are usually chickens that get sick more easily since they are all cramped. In fact, rumor has it that for the latter reason it is the worst type of meat. The same goes for cows (for both, their milk and meat).
In which products does the organic label matter the most?
Usually apples, peppers, carrots, celery, cherry, grapes, nectarines, strawberries and lettuce. Fruit and veggies that have a thick skin need less pesticides and therefore even in their non-organic form they are still ok. Examples of these are: asparagus, peas, potatoes, avocado, aubergines, kiwi, watermelon, (yey for Cypriots), mango and cabbage. It is also very important to buy fruit and vegetables that are in season… google helps for that as most people, (like me), have no idea what is in season or not.
Meat and milk is very important as they are packed with hormones and preservatives due to their high production demand.
Are they more expensive?
Usually yes because they are harder to find, may take longer to produce since no preservatives are applied. If one is selective to where they spend their organic shopping budget it is definitely worth it.
The biggest question of all is, where can I find the above???
There are quite a few shops that sell organic products, mostly in Nicosia and Limassol.
BioSpiti: Aglantzias 46, 22330225, NICOSIA, Agias Sofias 94, LIMASSOL 25732313.
Utopia: Areos 48A-B, NICOSIA (old city) 99184191
Viocultura: recently moved to Klimentos 42, NICOSIA 22377688