[NAFEX] Growing organically

Stephen Sadler Docshiva at Docshiva.org
Sun Apr 8 13:27:45 EDT 2007

The California farming valleys - the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and San
Fernandez - seem to be the organic capital of the world.  Not just the
valleys - actually, I'm sure a greater percentage of the foothill farmland
is organic.  Our food coop changed to all organic several years ago, as
there was finally enough supply at competitive prices.  In the supermarkets,
the veggies in the organic section are maybe 10% higher than conventional;
at Whole Foods and the food coop, there's no discernable price difference.
This has certainly been consumer driven.  But in response to that consumer
drive farmers have found economical ways to grow quantities of quality
organic foods.

For years I've known farmers who would like to have made the switch to
organics - and reduce their own exposure to more toxic sprays; they just
didn't know how, couldn't find USDA help, and were unwilling to take the
economic risk.  

As for your customer who wanted a large tomato so she could cut it small -
sheesh!!!  Some people do think oddly.  The flavor of locally grown organic
heirloom tomatoes, along with ripe sweet peaches - have probably been the
items most driving local buyers toward organics.  

But what I started to say here was

Happy Easter,
~ Stephen

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Jim Fruth
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2007 7:11 AM
Subject: [NAFEX] Growing organically

    I've been selling at farmers' markets for a lot of years and have 
learned that most customers do not want organic produce.  Oh, they will all 
SAY they want organic but the want it at supermarket prices.  Customers want

perfect produce; they handle every tomato and if they see a slightest 
imperfection, they reject it.  Customers also want their produce to be the 
same size as that which they find at supermarkets.
    One time, after sorting through my displayed tomatoes, a citiot asked 
me, "Don't you have any more BIG tomatoes?"  "Why do you need big ones?" I 
asked.  "I'm going to cut them up for a salad," was her reply.
    I have watched vendors come in to sell certified organic produce and 
they either stop coming because much of their produce doesn't sell or they 
drop their organic certification.  In my opinion, "organic' will become the 
trend when customers stop being so fussy.  What's the problem with a tiny 
pock or ding?  And so long as organic producers are able to grow less 
perfect fruits than their non-organic counter-parts, their organic produce 
must, necessarily, cost more if they are to stay in business.

Jim Fruth
Brambleberry Farm
Pequot Lakes, MN  56472
(218)568-8483 [Store]
(218)831-7018 [My Cell]

On Apr 7, 2007, at 1:09 PM, Thomas Olenio wrote:

> My underlying point being that preaching to farmers and agriculturists
> about the virtues of organic and standard agricultural practices will
> not change consumer demand one iota, and its consumer demand that
> drives commercial agricultural practice.
> ?

Preaching rarely works, on anybody. But I know organic growers who have
gradually increasing numbers of other organic farms all around them.
They don't preach; they just do a good job. Their neighbors notice the
results. Success also drives agricultural practice.


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