[Market-farming] taking the plunge

david purpura davepurpura at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 20 12:58:44 EST 2012

Hi Kathryn, and all.  Aside from not wanting to carry on the conversation about your growing practices (which you will still need to do, by the way) you don't address one question - why would you?  Are you unable to sell what you grow currently?  Will you be able to charge a premium for certifying?  Will you stand out in your markets by being certified?  It seems to me you need to weigh the answers to those questions to decide if it's worth it to you.  

I know many quality farmers that follow organic practices, but won't do the paperwork.  My unopened re-cert package is lying on my desk like a ticking time bomb.  It's only inertia that keeps me signing up again each year, I can't really get any premium anymore at the markets.

On a practical note - are you able to sell certified meat?  Here in MA there is no certified processor, so in the end you can't sell certified beef, pork, or lamb.  There is some kind of loophole for poultry.  So I don't certify meat, which makes me a 'split' operation, even though everything more than meets the standards.

I wouldn't struggle too much on detail, they'll tell you if something is missing.  My experience has been that they're generally helpful, and want you to succeed, it's more money for the certifier after all... And it's all much easier after year one, most of the blanks are already filled in, just minor changes year to year.

Good luck!
plato's harvest organic farm
SE MA    

Hey everyone, here's hoping you all have had a nice weekend.  I just spent
the whole day here going through a bunch of online documentation, and
comparing what we do to what would need to be done, to become certified
organic.  I think <insert big inhale> we're going to submit our paperwork
and go for it - for both crops and livestock production.  We've been so
close for so long, and now that we're selling meat it just seems like "the
thing to do" for a variety of reasons.  The pain-in-the-butt factor is right
up there of course, and I'm not even entirely sure if our pricing would
change a lot.  But after going through yet another round of "no we're not
certified but here's how we do things....." conversations with potential
buyers, I just finally decided it was time.

So, for all those who are already certified organic, you might have a new
fledgling member soon amongst your ranks.  I have already put in an email to
our local Tilth group to see who's certified organic and would be
willing/able to answer some newbie questions.  But if anyone on this list
would be willing to do the same, even though you're in another state and
another certifying agency, I'd sure love to know if I'd be able to send you
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