CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Guy Warner: The great organic debate

PUBLISHED: 15:37 10 October 2016 | UPDATED: 15:37 10 October 2016

Simon Weaver's tasty selection of cheeses

Simon Weaver's tasty selection of cheeses


The organic debate continues to rage on, but is organic certification the be-all and end-all of quality produce?

They say there are three things you should never talk about at dinner parties: money, politics and religion. Well, I’d add a fourth – organic food. Seriously, the subject of whether you eat organic or not can be a real hot potato, as divisive as whether you voted leave or remain, seemingly never wise to disclose amongst company.

That’s because there’s a lot of emotion surrounding the great organic debate. Woe betide me to wade into something so contentious – I’ve seen this particular topic of conversation lead to all manner of arguments. Whichever camp you’re in, nothing I nor fellow diners can say will persuade you to change your view – I know, because I’ve tried!

So the organic debate rages on, and this autumn there’s no escape as the Soil Association implores us to ‘Organic Your September’. Yes, it’s the annual drive to convert those floating voters into the organic camp.

But is organic really best? That’s a subject open to many hours of discussion. I work with some amazing local Cotswold suppliers who have sweated blood and tears to produce fabulous quality produce and who don’t have organic certification, yet stand by the quality of what they produce. I tell you, in a line-up, you’d have difficulty working out what’s organic and what’s not if it all came down to a taste test. On the other hand, I know some local, organically certified producers responsible for stunning food who will tell you very clearly why organic is simply different class!

I certainly don’t just eat organic, but as a family, we prefer to buy organic meat and produce when we can, most probably because we listened to all the scaremongers a few years back. Apples glistening with pesticides, carrots grown in insecticides, chickens fed on steroids, cows downing antibiotics… whether it was a load of old baloney or not, it certainly struck a nerve and shaped our diet forever.

It’s certainly not the easy option – my wife has come home with organic chickens that look like budgies, not enough to feed my son, never mind a family of six. I’ve had apples that look as appealing as cricket balls; hard and gnarly and devoid of flavour. On the other hand, I’ve had amazing organic produce ¬– Simon Weaver’s organic brie can’t be beaten for its soft and buttery flavour, Jess’s Ladies Organic Farm Milk is just how milk should taste, and Spot Loggins ice cream is, well, just the best!

As I’ve said so many times, we’re fortunate to live in an area jam-packed with outstanding local producers. The quality of produce we can buy in the Cotswolds is unsurpassed; we know the provenance of so much of our local produce – we even know the names of the cows that our milk comes from – but the fact that not all of these farmers and producers have been through the rigmarole of getting organic certification – does it really matter? Well, that’s a very, very personal opinion!

There’s no doubt organic food is here to stay, it’s just maybe not the buzz word it used to be – the gluten-free party seem to have claimed that victory. We’ll still carry on doing what we do because it suits us and feels right. However, I may just sneak that new gluten-free cereal into my shopping basket next time I’m at the store!

Organic goodness

Jess’s Ladies Organic: local favourite, Jess Vaughan, has been providing us with her organic dairy products for years. Her Farm Milk has been described as ‘milk as it used to taste’, while the Extra Thick Cream and Luxurious Natural Yogurt are equally divine.

Simon Weaver Cotswold Organic Dairy: the award-winning cheeses from this fantastic organic dairy include the delicious Organic Cotswolds Brie, with its soft and buttery texture and flavour of Cotswolds meadows.

Shipton Mill: set in a picturesque Tetbury valley, Shipton Mill produces a range of speciality organic flours including traditional wheat flour, spelt, buckwheat, rice, chestnut, rye as well as a range of gluten-free plain and self-raising flours.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Mon, 13:15

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Mon, 12:23

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search