In a piece in Saturday's New York Times about Stonyfield Farms' founder Gary Hirschberg being dispatched to Paris to introduce and market an organic yogurt brand, he said something quite thought-provoking: "If organic is going to be relying on being better for the environment or saving farmers, then I don't believe it's going to be successful in Europe. It has to be about better taste."
Does organic yogurt taste better? Does an organically grown tomato taste any better than a conventionally grown one? My experience in trying to answer this question in general has not been kind to the organic movement. In taste tests Jeffrey Steingarten and I did on our regional cable television show a few years ago, organic milk and organic butter did not fare very well at all. They were both among the lowest rated products we tried in each category.
But I'm going to start conducting blind taste tests in multiple product categories, and perhaps some Serious Eaters want to join me and play along at home and online. Let's start with full-fat yogurt. It would be great if we could find a brand of yogurt that puts out both an organic and nonorganic product, because at least we would be comparing apples to apples. But I'll see what I find, and all of you do the same, and let's report back by the end of the week.