Monday, May 10, 2010

Is that farm you love really organic?

I hate to make this post, but I really feel like I need to.

That farm you love with all those healthy, home grown fruits and veggies may not be organic...even if they say they are.

The summer after my senior year in high school, I worked at an orchard that was only about 1/2 a mile away from my parent's house. They grew (and still grow, I'm sure) every fruit and vegetable you could imagine except for two: blueberries and tomatoes. Now, this orchard did in fact grow all of their own produce organically. The problem came from them buying blueberries and tomatoes at the farmer's market to re-sell at their own orchard. These two items were certainly NOT organic. I remember one time the tomatoes came in and they had some sort of powdery white substance on them - I don't even want to think about what exactly it was.

So ok, again this wouldn't be a problem, because not everyone buys only organic and at least the tomatoes and blueberries were locally grown. Yes, no problem at all...except there was.

The owner of this said farm specifically instructed all employees to NOT tell customers the tomatoes and blueberries weren't organic. We could tell them they were bought the same day at the farmer's market (they were), but we were to never mention they weren't organic. We were taught to cleverly word our answers. For example, if a customer asked "Is your produce organic?" we were supposed to answer "Everything grown at ----- Orchard is organic." Not a lie, but definitely not the truth.

The reason I'm posting this is because a lot of us are trying to eat more healthy, "eco-friendly" foods. If you shop at a local farmer's market, orchard, or farm I would be sure to ask SPECIFICALLY if their produce is organic, and if all the produce they sell was grown on their organic farm. I'm sure if this happened at the orchard I worked at, it happens lots of other places as well. I'd even go so far as to ask specific questions about their organic practices.

It's a shame we can't trust people with a simple little thing like asking if their farm is organic or not. For more information on organic farming principles, click here

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