Is Hydroponic Farming Organic?

Here at Wild Oats we’re all about organics and informing our community on how to nourish their bodies and minds with the best. In most recent news, it’s hydroponic and aquaponic farming, in fact, this alternative method of producing fruits and vegetables has become so popular, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are pouring their money into it like gold!

Currently, this soil-free produce is considered organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but traditional farmers are rallying together to fight it.

Each side has their own arguments and pros and cons to soil vs. non-soil method of farming, but it all boils down to what is certified organic and what isn’t.

Let’s break it down….

The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 states: “An organic plant shall contain provisions designed to foster soil fertility, primarily through the management of the organic content of the soil through proper tillage, crop rotation, and manuring.”

Hydroponic Farming: By definition, Hydroponic farming is “a high-tech growing method, where vegetables are grown without soil. The roots of the plants are grown in a nutrient solution or in a medium such as perlite or gravel.”


  • Reduces water use – which is quite a large pro when you consider major droughts in the U.S. such as California.
  • Helps the wildly growing demand of organic produce. According to the New York Times – “Sales of organic food in the United States hit $40 billion last year, sending grocers scrambling to find enough organic produce to fill their cases.”


  • Proper lighting and nutrient water is expensive.
  • Does not use naturally enriched soil to grow plants instead uses artificial nutrients and grows produce in other forms of substrate such as coconut husks.
  • When buying organic food – people are not told if they are grown in the soil or via hydroponic method.

Organic Farming

According to Organic Farmers everything about Hydroponic Farming is NOT organic, to them, the law is clear – there is no soil and therefore it cannot be organic. As Sam Welsch, chief executive of OneCert, puts it, “There are things the law and regulations require you to do to the soil that you cannot do in a hydroponic system.” Another issue these Farms have is that they claim the U.S.D.A has been illegally allowing this to happen and not informing consumers that when they are buying organic produce, many of the items are actually being grown in green houses and not in soil.

What are your thoughts? We would love to know, share with us in the comments section below.

To learn more: What’s Organic? A Debate Over Dirt May Boil Down to Turf

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Five Thanksgiving Sides Dishes You Need to Try

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and although the talk is all about Turkey, sides might be my favorite part of the entire meal. While on the hunt for some new favorite side dishes, I found these delicious recipes that I had to share with you all!

Five Thanksgiving Sides Dishes You Need to Try:

  1. Creamy Mashed Cauliflower – from Deliciously Organic


2. Sweet Potato Pie Bites – from The Nutritionist Reviews


3. Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts With Grapes & Figs – from Abbey’s Kitchen


4. Gourmet Green Bean Casserole with Bacon, Gruyere and Caramelized Onions – from Baker by Nature


5. Crock Pot Stuffing with Wild Rice Cranberries and Almonds – from Well Plated by Erin


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Wild Oats Announces Next Step in Affordable Organics Movement

First off, we would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to our amazing customers for their ongoing support as we continue to lead the effort to make affordable organics available to all.

As many of you know, Wild Oats has long been a pioneer in the natural and organic foods industry having introduced the brand back in 1987—before it was mainstream to talk about the health and wellness benefits of everyday foods.

When we re-launched the brand two years ago we sought to do something that was previously thought impossible—lower prices to make certified organic products more accessible to the masses. Through our initial strategic partnership, we were not only able to exceed our sales expectations, but also develop the tools and learning needed to take the Wild Oats brand to the next level.

Now, we are ready for the next phase of our plan, which is to expand the line to multiple retailers and bring more exciting and inventive products to market. Please stay in touch with us by joining our eNewsletter to keep up on exciting new developments at Wild Oats.

We can’t wait to show you what’s next!

—The Wild Oats Team

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Eating Versus Drinking Calories: What’s the Difference?

According to researchers, your brain registers liquid calories differently than it does from eating solid foods. For example, say you were to drink a tall glass of orange juice. OJ is naturally high in sugar, and sugar contains calories. An 8oz glass of OJ usually has about 115 calories. When you ingest the juice, studies show our brains don’t registered the calories the same way as it does if you were to eat an actual orange. This may be because the acting of biting or chewing may trigger satiety signals in the brain, a natural reaction to the fact that food contain calories, relating back to stone age times when water was the only liquid available to drink.

And, most likely you will not feel as full from that glass of juice as you would from getting those calories from eating the orange in its whole form. We remain more satiated from fruit than from juice. This is because the actual piece of fruit contains fiber, and the juice has very little fiber. Fiber helps us feel full and aids in proper digestion. The juice is mostly sugar which gets rapidly absorbed after we drink it. One good solution for this would be to liquefy the fruit in its whole form using a high power blender, so that all the fiber of the fruit is consumed too. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the juice contains calories no matter what.

Also, “studies show that people consuming sugary beverages,” such as juice without fiber, soda, energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages, “don’t compensate for their high caloric content by eating less food.”1 This can lead to unnecessary weight gain, or even worse, increase your risk for obesity. Now, that’s something to chew on!

To learn more: Healthy Drinks Sugary Drinks

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Lovely White Beans with Rice

Over fifteen years ago, the mother of my first boyfriend taught me how to make the most delicious white beans with rice. White beans add a wonderful body to any rice or pasta dish. This recipe is based on her heritage and roots in Italy, where rice and white (cannellini) beans are staples in traditional Northern Italian cuisine.

I can remember standing in the kitchen with my boyfriend, nervous as anything because I was very inexperienced in the ways of cookery, and didn’t really know what the heck I was doing. I was hoping to impress, and looking back, this recipe was not only one of my first attempts in the kitchen, but also one of my first attempts as using food, and the act of cooking for someone, as an expression of love.

Luckily I passed the “mom test.” However, these days, I’ve added my own spin, substituting brown rice for the more traditional Arborio (risotto) rice. Arborio rice can be used too, if you’d prefer more traditional velvety, creamier texture.

Lovely White Beans with Rice

In a large saucepan over medium heat, sautée about 2 cups of chopped mirepoix (celery, carrot, and white onion) in ¼ cup of organic extra virgin olive oil.

Stir in a heaping spoonful or more of organic tomato paste, and one small spoonful of minced organic garlic.

Add about 2 cups of water, and 2 15 oz cans (about 3.5-4 cups) of white beans. Stir it all together, and simmer over medium-low heat for fifteen minutes, or until the mixture thickens up a bit.

Fold about 2 cups of fully-cooked brown rice into the mixture.

I like more beans than rice in my mixture, but feel free to add more rice if you want.

Combine ingredients slowly and softly over low heat for a few minutes. Let sit until it’s cooled off.

This recipe is so tasty, full of rich flavor and oh so much love.

*It’s vegan, and high in potassium and fiber too.