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Monday, March 28, 2011

Kitschen Essentials: Don't panic, it's organic!

Over the weekend, I visited the OCCP (Organic Certification Center of the Philippines) Weekend Organic Market in Eastwood. I like how they are really pushing for people to buy organic produce and products form local farmers and small companies.

Apparently, there is a law now that people need to be certified by the OCCP in order to be able to advertise themselves as organic. There are so many products claiming to be organic that you don't know who to believe anymore. With this Certification center, it will be easier for people-all they need to do is look for the seal.

The weekend market is relatively small right now, but they are hoping to expand. A few things you'll find are vegetables like lettuce, cherry tomatoes, okra, ampalaya, fruits such as chico, star apple, green mango and bananas and fresh herbs like lemon basil (smells so good), sage, thyme, and dill.

They also have different kinds of rice--An interesting story: The black rice is called "Forbidden rice" because in ancient times only the kings in China were allowed to eat it. Pink rice is red rice that has been slightly polished, so it's not quite red but it's not white.

You can also find organic jams and jellies, coconut teas and marmalade and virgin coconut oil products. There's also organic coconut vinegar.

A little excerpt from their press release:

Organic food is produced using methods, practices and inputs that comply to a set of standars and principles concerning such issues as chemical pesticides/herbicides/insecticides etc; food additives; animal welfare; and sustainability. Organic growers aim to produce food as ‘naturally’ as possible.

For food to be organic it needs to be produced in an organic farming system without the use of synthetic chemicals or genetically modified organisms. Emphasis is placed on the whole ecosystem of the farm and a holistic farm management approach, using rotations and ruminant animals as an integral part of the system. Organic systems recognize that our health is directly connected to the health of the food we eat and, ultimately, the health of the soil.

Animals often play a key role in an organic farming system. In the production of animal products, animal welfare is also an important issue with only free-range animals allowed.

While organic food is more expensive than organic food, it is simply because it has much better value. Buying organic food is like paying health insurance- you pay less for medical expenses because you are healthier than if you ate only non-organic food.

The OCCP Weekend Organic Market is located at the Eastwood Mall Open Park every weekend until May

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