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How to Throw an All-organic Dinner Party

Keep your guests happy and healthy with an organic menu.
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With all of the negative rumblings about pesticides, factory farming and evil seed companies, it's clear that consciousness about our food sources has gone mainstream. Even most large grocery store chains now have a decent organic section. So it makes sense that you might want your next dinner party to be all-organic. But if you're not 100 percent sure what the big deal is about organic, here's a quick little primer.

Organic produce means the fruits and vegetables are grown without the use of chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, as well as not being genetically modified. Organic meat and dairy means that the animals used have been fed a diet of grass or organic feed and are allowed access to clean water,.

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If you're looking for 100 percent organic foods, then it needs to say "certified organic" on the label. If you're OK with food that is largely organic, you can just look for the "organic" tag, meaning that it's made with at least 95 percent organic ingredients. Finally, if the label states that the product is "made with organic ingredients" then you'll know that it has a minimum of 70 percent organic ingredients and that there are restrictions on how the other 30 percent was grown.

Now that you know what you're shopping for, click to the next page for some organic dinner party tips.

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Don't stop with the food; get organic wine, too.
Don't stop with the food; get organic wine, too.
Goodshoot/Thinkstock

Like with any dinner party, the first place you might want to start your shopping trip is in the wine aisle. Organic wines have become very popular in recent years, and the number of organic vineyards has grown dramatically. Just as with food, organic wine follows the same labeling criteria, so be sure to examine the label. Ask your local wine merchant about organic varietals that might go well with the food you have in mind.

The next step is to cover your appetizers, and there's really no better way to go than a nice cheese and raw vegetable spread. This will keep your guests occupied and happy while you're putting the finishing touches on the main course. Plus, organic cheese and veggies are plentiful at most stores and super tasty to boot. Also make sure that any breads, crackers or dips are made with 100 percent organic ingredients.

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For your main course, you may need to do a little more searching for your ingredients. Although most grocery stores are now flush with organic produce, some may not have a wide variety of organic meats to choose from. You'll likely find some organic, grass-fed ground beef, but if you want to serve something besides beef then you might have to check with a local butcher or organic farmer's market for poultry and other meats. The plus of that is you will be sourcing your main course locally.

Finally, if you have an organic vegetable or herb garden of your own, make sure to include those ingredients in dishes at your dinner party. Not only will you be able to certify firsthand that it's 100 percent organic, but you get the bragging rights for your farm-to-table lifestyle.

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Sources

  • "Clearing up the Confusion about Organic Wine." Organicconsumers.org. (July 8, 2011). http://www.organicconsumers.org/Organic/OrganicWine.cfm
  • "Facts Concerning the Production of Organic Beef." Ota.com. (July 8, 2011). http://www.ota.com/organic/foodsafety/OrganicBeef.html
  • "How Do I Know if Something is Organic?" Organic.org. (July 8, 2011). http://www.organic.org/home/faq
  • "How to throw an organic and stress-free dinner party." Huffingtonpost.com, June 10, 2008. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/10/how-to-throw-an-organic-a_n_106406.html
  • "Industry Statistics and Projected Growth." Ota.com. (July 8, 2011). http://www.ota.com/organic/mt/business.html
  • Parker, James. "Organic Dinner Party Tips." Organicallyspeaking.co, November 6, 2010. http://organicallyspeaking.co/organic-dinner-party-tips/

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