Q1. What is most difficult thing about being a consumer of Organic vegetables and fruits?

Well, the truth is Organic Vegetables and fruits will have insects occasionally. We understand that it is not a pretty sight but occasionally it is unavoidable if you wish to buy organic/natural fruits and vegetables even groceries. All of these are non-poisonous insects mostly from the same family as butterflies are. Mostly, it is perfectly fine to remove the infected part and use rest of the vegetable. There are different seasons for different insects to breed and multiply like rainy season is an important season for many of them. During this time a few vegetables are much more prone to such occurrence as insect prefer these to lay their eggs or suck their juices. Infestation in such periods could be as high as 90% for some veggies like Karela or Baingan or Tori. With such high proportion of veggies having infestation or insect bites, despite our best efforts to sort vegetables, a few pieces may filter thru. (Note: We provide full refunds for such cases so only downside for you is that you maybe really looking forward to having bhindi for dinner and you end up eating something else.)



Q2. Why should I eat organic?

Difficult for us to answer. We can only say that eating chemicals is definitely not right esp. when you can avoid. We can understand you taking medicines and antibiotics when you are not well, but it is really difficult to understand why you should keep consuming ‘pesticides residues’ in your daily food. Please remember that every pesticide is a poison as it is supposed kill a certain life. Even so-called safe levels for you are standards that are based mostly on assumptions. To a layman, it is like saying that since taking 50 mg of Crocin may not produce any impact on your body temperature hence it is ok to take it daily!!! We can only assure you that when you buy from us, we take utmost care that none of the products contains any harmful chemicals nor have these been produced using any chemicals.



Q3: But can very small quantities of pesticide residues really harm me?

Well nutrition too comes in minuscule quantities. E.g. in 100 g Spinach, Vit A is approximately 3mg which 0.03%. If Vitamins matter in such minuscule quantities, we can be sure that poisons too. Our real challenge is that we are not able to control the usage of pesticides given the fragmentation of land holdings as a result farmer mostly chooses the cheapest pesticide rather than appropriate pesticide. For example, a farmer may choose to use Phorate (a nerve gas agent invented during WWII that can kill snakes and rodents too not just minor insects. In fact, it can kill a human if he were to mistakenly walk into field and gets a small cut allowing 2.5mg of Phorate to go in) on a wheat field while it is to be used for a crop like sugarcane at the minimum and better used for large tree plantations for paper and wood industries. In practice, our pesticides usage is largely uncontrolled and indiscriminate in some cases. Unlike a developed world consumer, you can’t feel assured of pesticides residues being within so called safe limits.



Q4. Can we not remove Pesticides by washing fruits and vegetables in saltwater?

No. Salt solutions can wash out most of the chemical at surface of a fruit or vegetable. But chemicals absorbed by vegetables inside (cauliflower, spinach, Bhindi, Baingan etc.) can’t be just washed away. So yes, it can help remove surface pesticides but it won’t rid your food of pesticides residues.



Q5: But I would still be eating out, traveling, partying and attending functions.

Yes, you are right. We live in a world where we are surrounded by ‘chemical laden’ food and we live amidst pollution. We can only help you reduce your exposure. In fact, eating organic is just one step in right direction but it doesn’t mean that it is okay to have parathas made using organic ghee, organic aata and organic aloo as a daily routine. Responsible food choice is much more that just having organic.



Q6: Which vegetables are risky from pesticides usage perspective?

It is a good question, but it misses two important points. Harmful chemicals can find their way into your food from three sources - Soil, Irrigation water and Pesticides sprayed. Given this, it is important to be sure of source of vegetables so that you know the farm where these are being grown and water being used to grow apart from farming practices. Generally, all vegetables are prone to pesticides use as farmers don’t like taking even 5% crop loss and trade-off between cost of pesticide versus value of crop is always positive to a farmer. Summer vegetables are Ghiya, Tori, Karela, Kheera, Tinda, Tomato, Chilly, Coriander, Bhindi, Baingan etc etc. Kheera, Tinda, Bhindi and Baingan are extremely high on usage. So practically every vegetable is sprayed. In some cases, very very indiscriminately. For example, Bhindi in our neighboring area is sprayed every 3rd day during rainy season. Baingan, Kheera and Tomatoes would fall in same category. So, to disappoint you, it is question that can lead you to wrong choices. Either you can be sure that pesticides are not used at all or you don’t bother asking this question. Making a relative choice may not help.



Q7: Are leafy vegetable more prone to pesticide usage?

Many people think that if they are able to source a few leafy vegetables from organic farms, it will be enough. Leafy vegetables are much more likely to absorb such pesticides but mostly other veggies like Bhindi, Baingan etc. are equally or more likely to be contaminated. It is true that during certain periods there are more leaf eating insects that cause a lot of holes in the leaves of leafy vegetables. Since such leafy vegetables are not saleable farmers end up using pesticides making these risky for consumers as leafy vegetables have short production cycle which reduce the time gap between application of pesticide and harvesting. But that is true for many other veggies too.



Q8. Are not organic vegetables mostly small in size?

Size of veggie or fruit has to do with many things other than farming methods. While most vegetables grow big if excess fertilizer is applied, mostly size is dependent on seeds and growing environment. Within a same vegetable type, there are multiple types and sizes. Easy examples are Baingan which come in multiple colors, shapes and sizes. Tomato and Karela also have many types with different size. Sometime, growing climate also makes a difference. In colder climates, some of summer veggies Karela (bitter gourd) can grow really large. There are Ghiyas that can be few feet long. Likewise, most grains have fuller grains when organically as less plants are grown in same acreage. In some cases, size of one fruit (vegetable is also fruit of the plant) can be increased by pruning other fruits/buds so that entire nutrition being generated in a plant gets channelized to fewer fruits. On average, organically/naturally grown potatoes will be of smaller size but a few of them will be as large as any fertilizer could have made them. Also, sometimes average potato size also depends on soil being grown in as well as the climate. Generally, potato size will be larger if it has been grown in hilly regions. A few types of potatoes are larger on average.



Q9. Mostly Organic vegetables are not good looking?

Not true. Spinach grown organically will be better looking and shiny than spinach grown using fertilizer. Most other vegetables are also equal or superior. However, we do encourage you to look beyond looks. After all, what relationship is there between looks of carrot and its taste? “None” is the answer. Focus on looks by consumers leads to a lot of waste at our Mandis. So, we would request you to buy Cauliflower that may not be exactly spherical, carrots which are fused, Ghiya outer skin looks badly bruised (not avoidable sure to transit). We request you to look for Nutrition and not the looks!!



Q10. Why should I buy from Sanesa?

We assure you three things when you buy from us – Fresh stuff, no chemical in your food and you know the source of your food. When you buy from Sanesa you buy Fresh - Unlike most neighborhood vendors, you will never find a vegetable or fruit at our counters that is not fresh. Quite frequently, one gets mint that has no aroma, bhindi and tori that taste the same or tomatoes that are neither sweet not sour just bland, litchis that are full of water etc. etc. That’s normal food supply chain for you. In order to keep veggies and fruits look fresh beyond their expiry date, many vendors apply liberal doses of water to veggies and fruits like litchis. We don’t do anything like that. In our case, Sunday arrivals are sold on Sunday and Monday, Tuesday arrivals on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday arrivals are sold on Thursday and Friday for more than 80% of our vegetables. In no case, you get week old vegetables or fruits that are full of water from your helpful neighborhood vendor. You buy vegetables that are grown without any chemical fertilizer or chemical pesticide. Read about what all we do at our farm. We use only rainwater or ground water for growing crops at our farm. Water testing report is available for you. There are no seeped pesticides in our groundwater, no heavy metals residues. Our water has higher TDS and more alkaline. Using this water to grow food for you is significantly different from drainage sites or poor soils being used to grow your food. So, we have taken care of each of potential way in which chemicals could have entered your food - the soil, the water and human application. All this ensures that our Tori tastes like Tori, Bhindi like Bhindi, Kheera like Kheera, Ghiya like Ghiya and Palak like Palak. You don’t have to use masalas to cover up for lack of original taste in Veggies. You will start getting your taste buds backs in a few weeks.



Q11. Why are Sanesa products expensive compared to general stores?

Since we practice Natural Farming, production is much lower than conventional farming. For some veggies like cauliflower, brinjal and Bhindi, not using pesticides make a dramatic impact on our yields. At times, our yield could be as low as 10% of conventional farming and may not even recover the cost incurred for sorting veggies infected by insects. In conventional farming, weeding is done using weedicides like Glyphosate while we must rely on human labor which is at least 10 times more expensive. For almost vegetables, not using chemical fertilizers makes a big impact on not only the overall production but also on certainty of production. But the moment you factor in the quality difference, we are not expensive. To take an example, consider a diet based on McDonalds’ burgers. It will be cheap. In some cases, it could be cheaper than the roadside food. But would you replace your everyday meals with that? Same way if you compare us with vegetables that can be tasteless, stale and chemical laden, we are more than worth it for you.



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