I'll admit I am not the greatest gardener in the world but every year, I do try to raise something edible, mainly in an effort to see if I can actually do it, if pinch ever came to shove. Over those years, I have made a startling discovery and one that will not sit well with the do-everything-yourself-naturally brigade.
Home-grown produce does NOT taste better than the stuff you buy in the stores.
There, I've said it. And I can say it honestly. This year, I have harvested garlic, onions, various herbs, lettuces, chard and several varieties of tomatoes. And not one of them tastes any better than similar vegetables I can buy at the farmer's market or the supermarket.
And before anyone gets snarky and questions me on this, here are the facts: everything I grow is 100 per cent organic. All of the above was grown from seed or bulb. And because of being involved in the tea business and doing my own blending, I have a pretty sensitive palate - I can taste differences pretty easily.
Is it worth the extra effort? Honestly, I have to say no - you can get better deals from farmers or the supermarket since they grow in quantity or buy in quantity. However, it is pretty neat to be able to make a salad at the end of the day with everything grown by yourself and harvested only minutes earlier. Also, you do know the history of the plant and what it's come in contact with and for many people, just knowing for sure no pesticides have been used is comfort enough. A taste difference though? Uh, no.
And I have to say the same about eggs and other organic products. One of the biggest myths surrounds blueberries - that the wild ones taste better than the farm-grown ones. Close your eyes and taste the two - there's really no discernable difference. In fact, you might be surprised to find the farm grown ones are tastier.
Now I'm not saying give up the organic products or home-grown ones but consume and grow them because you want to and because you enjoy the effort that goes into the harvest.