Monday, March 28, 2011


I have mixed feelings about organic foods. We have a few acres of our Colorado property from which we have carefully avoided any use of pesticides. This land is much too small for going through whatever formal procedures are needed to be "officially" able to sell produce as "organic", but in fact the land is treated as if it were. Before we bought the property, that land was used as grazing for cattle, so it is naturally fertile. In some years, lettuce and other greens have been taken to the nearby Farmer's Market, but otherwise we have eaten or given away what we have grown there.

Like many others, I deplore the exploitation of the term by aggressive marketers. In a store, I have been known to avoid high-priced organic items almost "on principle". I read somewhere that if fruit has a peel, it makes no difference--for example, with bananas. Certainly, if (say) insecticide can't penetrate a banana skin, spraying ripening bananas won't be affected.

But what if "artificial" fertilizer is used on the banana tree? Although I have visited a banana plantation (in Costa Rico), I don't pretend to be familiar with the cultivation techniques used by "Chiquita" (the notorious United Fruit Company). However, I checked out "", and learned (in addition to a lot of interesting history on the development of banana cultivation) that after the bananas have been harvested, the giant stems are cut down to provide rich humus for the next crop that has already begun to sprout new shoots.

When i was a boy of about 8 (in 1935), I used to play some of the old 78s on what we called a "gramophone" (the British version of a phonograph) and in its American form a phonograph. Among the records was a performance of what had been a very popular song "Yes, we have no bananas". This came true in WWll, when importation of such standard fruits as oranges and bananas had to be eliminated in favor of more humdrum food.

I still enjoy whole milk in my cereal bowl and coffee cup. When I am shopping, I don't choose the more expensive "organic" milk, but when it is bought for me, I don't complain. After all, it tastes just as good as regular milk...


  1. There's a famous scene in the 1961 movie "One, Two, Three" in which James Cagney, as a Coca-Cola executive in West Berlin, visits a hotel in East Berlin. The hotel band is raggedly playing "Ja, wir haben nicht bananen" (or whatever it is in German).

  2. Correction: it's "Ja, wir haben keine Bananen."