Obviously, I’m not a big dairy consumer and you won’t see me sporting a cow’s milk mustache for the foreseeable future. You might even wonder why you would mention this on a dairy free website. The thing is, I know many of you are low dairy or dairy free. You could even be a dairy eater who appreciates this website for a loved one, or just because I post amazing recipes (no shame here) and great articles like this one.
That said, if you use dairy, I’ll vote organic for a few simple reasons. Organic dairy products must be produced without added hormones, which means they are naturally free of rBGH. Additionally, organic cows must now get at least 30% of their calories from grass. Therefore, you receive some of the added nutritional value of grass-fed cows compared to grain-fed cows. Finally, conventional dairy cows eat pesticide-rich corn and soybeans, usually GMOs. Animal feed pesticide residues have been found in samples of dairy products. Organic cow feed is not genetically modified or high in pesticides.
Do nuts have to be organic?
In general, even conventionally grown walnuts show little pesticide residue on the shelled walnut. However, the pesticides used in non-organic walnut production are dangerous to farmworkers and the local ecology, so choose organic walnuts whenever possible or talk to your local walnut grower about their growing practices.
Nuts with thicker shells, such as pecans and walnuts, contain the least amount of pesticides. Therefore, pecans are very low on the list of foods likely to contain pesticides.
7 tips for growing peanuts
Do you want to try growing organic peanuts? Here are seven great tips, resources, and a video to get you started:
Keep in mind that your success may depend on the soil you grow them in: peanuts grow best in sandy soil. If your soil isn’t sandy enough, container gardening will work just fine, as long as the containers are deep enough. Realize that you probably won’t get a huge harvest and of course you’ll have to roast them once you’ve harvested them, but it’s easy.
Another concern with peanuts is aflatoxin. When peanuts are grown in warm, humid conditions (and many peanut crops are), it promotes fungal growth. This fungus can release aflatoxin, which has been linked to liver cancer. Aflatoxin may be present in organic peanut butters. MaraNatha Peanut Butter claims to have products that are “virtually free” of aflatoxins. It’s the brand of peanut butter we buy for our house. However, we all prefer almond butter and eat much more almond butter than peanut butter. I adapt most recipes that call for peanut butter with almond butter simply because that’s what I usually have on hand. My favorite is Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. This link is for a ten-pack single-serving box, since that was the best price I could find online, you can find it in 12- to 16-ounce jars at stores like Whole Foods. Or just mix some maple syrup into your favorite almond butter.
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Production and Trade:
In general, organic peanut production in the United States is increasing. American peanuts are considered to be of the highest quality in the world. The United States exports between 200,000 and 250,000 metric tons of organic peanuts per year (American Peanut Council, 2002).
In 2016, world peanut production was 44 million tons, dominated by China with 38% of the world total, followed by India (16%). Other big producers were Nigeria, the United States and Sudan. The main exporters in 2013 were India with 541,337 tons, which represents 32% of the total exported worldwide, and the United States with 19% of the total exported. The European Union imported 52% of the world contribution of shelled peanuts in 2013, with the Netherlands alone accounting for 40% of the European total.