The Sweet Taste of Sustainability

A new comparison of apple orchards in Washington state shows that growers who go organic harvest financial rewards with their sweeter, environmentally friendly apples

08-01-2001 // Mark Cheater

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then an organic apple may keep the banker away. A new comparison of apple orchards in Washington state shows that growers who go organic harvest financial rewards with their sweeter, environmentally friendly apples. Scientists at Washington State University looked at the costs and benefits of equal-sized plots of golden delicious apples grown under three different farming methods: conventional, organic and integrated (a combined approach). "The organic system was more energy efficient, it was better for the environment, it had equal or better soil quality, its yields were as good as the other systems, it was more profitable and its apples were slightly sweeter and firmer," says John Reganold, a scientist at the university who coauthored the study. "The bottom line is that organic outperforms the others when you talk about sustainability."

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