Dear Mr. Green:
Lately I see more and more “organic” fruits and vegetables in the supermarkets. I’m confused. Often the organic apples or strawberries aren’t as shinny or as large as the regular ones, but they can cost a lot more! So tell me, what exactly are organic fruits and vegetables? And why are they so expensive?
Taken from: North Star 2, Published by: Pearson, Authors: Natasha Haugnes & beth Maher
Dear Confused Shopper:
You're right. Sometimes organic produce doesn't look as nice as regular produce, and it often costs twice as much. Let me explain why.
Since about 1950, farmers in the United States have used chemicals to grow their fruits and vegetables. They use pesticides tokill insects that eat their plants. They use herbicides to kill the weeds that kill their plants. These chemicals are a great help to farmers. By using them, farmers can grow more produce on the same amount of land. This means that shoppers can find more produce in the stores.
Farmers also use chemicals to make fruits and vegetables ripe. For example, they often pick tomatoes while they arestill green, and then put them in a box to go to a supermarket. The green tomatoes turn red and get ripe because of a chemical that is in the box with them. Because some produce can be picked early, it can travel long distances to stores. As a result, we can find most kinds of regular fruits and vegetables all year long.
Some people argue, however, that there are problems with using all thesechemicals. When we eat produce, we're also eating a little bit of the chemicals. Small amounts of these are safe to eat. But larger amounts-a little bit every day-can cause illnesses. Many scientists believe that these farming chemicals cause cancer.
Herbicides and pesticides can also be very bad for nature. They sometimes kill animals such as fish and birds, and they can poison rivers thatare near farms. Farm workers who pick the crops often get very sick from the chemicals. Because of problems like these, some farmers are going back to growing produce the old-fashioned way-without chemicals. We call this kind of produce organic.
Organic produce is more expensive than other produce for several reasons. For instance, many organic farmers can’t grow as much produce as otherfarmers. Their farms are usually smaller, and, of course, they don't use herbicides and pesticides. Also, because they don't use ripening chemicals, their produce has to arrive at the stores very soon after it's picked.
So it is usually fresh, but this too costs money.
Is it worth it? That's up to you to decide. But if you're not familiar with organic produce, you might want to try it. More andmore shoppers are buying organic produce. Many of these shoppers say that they're not just concerned about their own health. They are concerned about the health of our whole world.
READ FOR MAIN IDEAS. Check (X) the ideas that Mr. Green discussed in his answer.
1. He explained how much organic fruits and vegetables cost. _____
2. He discussed the kinds ofinsects that can destroy crops. _____
3. He discussed the use of chemicals in growing regular produce. XXXXX
4. He explained why regular produce may be bad for your health. XXXXX
5. He explained what organic produce is. XXXXX
6. He explained why organic fruits and vegetables are expensive. XXXXX
7. He explained where people can buy organic produce. _____
READ FOR DETAILS.Read each statement. Decide if it is true or false. Write T (true) or F (false) next to it. If the statement is false, write a true statement after it.
1. Organic produce looks the same as regular produce. _F_
______________Organic produce doesn't look as nice as regular produce. __________________________
2. Organic produce can cost twice as much as regular produce. T XXX F ___...