The argument to eat organic foods just got stronger. A study recently conducted by Washington State University found that organic strawberries are more flavorful and nutritious than conventional strawberries. The most comprehensive and detailed study of its kind, the researchers analyzed berries from 13 conventional farms and 13 organic farms in California, the state that produces 90 percent of the nation’s strawberries. “There is no paper in the literature that comprehensively and quantitatively compares so many indices of both food and soil quality at multiple sampling times on so many commercial farms,” said John Reganold, professor of soil science and lead author of the paper.
They also found that the soil was much healthier at the organic farms, an important contributor to taste. The study compared soil DNA, plus 31 chemical and biological properties. These indicators of soil health also point to a greater amount of sustainability at the organic farms. The conventional farms used methyl bromide to fumigate their soil, a compound shown to reduce the ozone layer.
The organic fruit also proved to be healthier. Organic strawberries were found to have higher levels of antioxidants, which are important to disease prevention. The organic berries also have longer shelf life, and were judged by tasters to have better flavor.