From the Naked City episode “Spectre of the Rose Street Gang” (December 19, 1962), sounding like a voice from the future:
“I got a wife, two kids, a nice business — produce, organically grown, no sprays.”The Oxford English Dictionary gives this definition for organically : “In the manner of or with regard to organic farming or gardening.” The first citation is from H. J. Massingham, The Wisdom of the Fields (1945): “What I did not expect was to see a farm, organically husbanded and thus faithful to the old spirit of the country.”
The OED dates to 1942 the use of organic to describe farming or gardening: ”using no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals. Also designating a farmer or gardener utilizing such a method, or a farm on which the method is employed.”
The OED ’s first citation for organic as a word that describes food (“produced without the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals”) is a 1960 New York Times advertisement: “Fruit and vegetable juice. Natural. Organic foods. Energy vitamin and minerals. Catering to special diets.”
Why a reference to organic farming in a Naked City episode? Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published on September 27, 1962. Sprays — pesticides — were in the air and on people’s minds. This line of Naked City dialogue was (and is) food for thought.
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[The OED Identifies the author of The Wisdom of the Fields as A. J. Massingham. But he’s H. J.]