- Penelope Perkins-Veazie
Switching from conventional to organic production requires a philosophical shift and recognition of different production system inputs plus postharvest handling challenges. First, and most obvious, is the replacement of common and readily available manufactured chemical inputs with approved “natural” or “nature-made compounds” (i.e., organic) for organic production. Many of these organic inputs may require new knowledge for successful implementation or may be less effective than conventional counterparts. Good orchard practices (e.g., cleanliness, bookkeeping) must be followed in an organic system just as they are in a conventional system. In addition, if processing (cider, sauces, or frozen fruit-sectioning preparations) is going to be part of the harvested operation, approved organic products will have to be used, and strict guidelines followed and documented. Organic versus conventional production system inputs can affect changes in the phytochemical and nutrient content of foods, and even change ripening patterns, which can affect harvest operations, marketing qualities, and consumer acceptance.