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Mega-producers tip scales as organics go mainstream
SFgate.com ^ | April 30, 2006 | Carol Ness

Posted on 04/30/2006 1:24:11 AM PDT by KneelBeforeZod

Thirteen and a half million servings of organic romaine, radicchio and baby greens. That's how much Earthbound Farm, the biggest organic produce company in the country, sends out across America from its gigantic San Juan Bautista processing plant every single week.

That's one big bowl of salad -- way bigger than when Myra and Drew Goodman started Earthbound Farm in their Carmel Valley living room in 1984. They now farm 26,000 organic acres.

This is the yin of the organic food movement as it plunges headlong into the American mainstream.

The yang is County Line Harvest farmer David Retsky, steering an orange tractor to sow organic Palla Rosa radicchio, Easter Egg radishes and Cosmic Purple carrots on the six hilly acres he farms outside Petaluma. Retsky and his small crew handpick whatever is ready, and sell it the next day to a few farmers' markets and restaurants, plus a specialty wholesaler, in Oakland and San Francisco.

SNIP>>>>>>

(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: farmers; farms; organic

1 posted on 04/30/2006 1:24:15 AM PDT by KneelBeforeZod
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To: KneelBeforeZod

Anyone distilling organic bourbon? I'm particular how I dissolve my liver...


2 posted on 04/30/2006 1:37:16 AM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: Jack Hammer
Organic wine
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=organic+wine&btnG=Google+Search

Organic beer
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=organic+beer&btnG=Search

Organic whisky
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=organic+whisky&btnG=Search

Organic bourbon
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=organic+bourbon&btnG=Search
It don't look too good...Stick to Knob Creek, Makers, Early Times and be safe & happy!

3 posted on 04/30/2006 2:06:44 AM PDT by Khurkris (Don't blame me. I never answer the phone.)
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To: Khurkris

My liver and I thank you!


4 posted on 04/30/2006 2:09:14 AM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: KneelBeforeZod

Organic and non-organic. Pretty stark contrast. Coincidentally, the people working in the organic/health stores look just as limp and dull.

5 posted on 04/30/2006 4:03:18 AM PDT by edpc
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To: edpc
It is a great market niche to exploit if you're into agriculture though. Premium prices for often substandard products - but the packaging is extremely important. High labor costs offset much of the profit in many crops, but there are plenty of opportunities to find the right ones for a small operation.
6 posted on 04/30/2006 5:11:48 AM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Di'ver'si'ty (adj.): A compound word derived from the root words: division; perversion; adversity.)
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To: edpc
Organic and non-organic. Pretty stark contrast.

Those pictures are a pretty clear illustration. For one thing, groups of organic vegetables have rounded edges and cast a drop-shadow. I also see that organic vegetable don't come with garlic or ginger. The only good thing I can say about these organic veggies is that they aren't already cut open, like inorganic canteloupe and red cabbage.

7 posted on 04/30/2006 5:28:43 AM PDT by Yeti ("He might be drunk!")
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To: WorkingClassFilth
It is a great market niche to exploit if you're into agriculture though. Premium prices for often substandard products - but the packaging is extremely important. High labor costs offset much of the profit in many crops, but there are plenty of opportunities to find the right ones for a small operation.

The interesting part of this whole thing is that it is all so much hog wash. How do you know that they are really so called organic, because the farmer told you, would you like to buy some bridge stock??? Not you workingclass, but people that believe this bull.

8 posted on 04/30/2006 6:47:18 AM PDT by org.whodat (Never let the facts get in the way of a good assumption.)
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To: org.whodat
Actually, the Department of Agriculture has to cetify you and the land has to be left out for 3 yrs or so and in some states tested for residue. So there are controls.

OTH, the reason the world continues to grow and thrive is non-organic agriculture. One of the reasons we're living longer is the abundance and safety of food, which could never be accomplished without conventional farming. Another reason to eschew organic is the natural fungi and diseases which killed so many people in the past. A while back when organic was just getting popular, the developed a potato that naturally repeled bugs, the only problem was the potato itself was then poisonous. Oraganic is just a bunch of hooie made up by the hippies with no research.

9 posted on 04/30/2006 6:57:04 AM PDT by tiki
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To: tiki
One of the reasons we're living longer is the abundance and safety of food, which could never be accomplished without conventional farming

Baloney

10 posted on 04/30/2006 7:13:10 AM PDT by Orbiting_Rosie's_Head
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To: edpc

From the pictures, it appears that the plants can tell wether the fertilizer came from a cow's rear end or a factory.

BTW, do they check the feed going into the front end of the cow?


11 posted on 04/30/2006 7:46:37 AM PDT by CPOSharky (Go home and fix your own country before you complain about ours.)
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To: WorkingClassFilth
Premium prices for often substandard products -

LOL! So right, but, there's one born every minute as they say.

We're a rich, no, wealthy country and we can afford to throw away money on useless and valuless food stuffs.

12 posted on 04/30/2006 8:18:18 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle (God has blessed Republicans with really stupid enemies.)
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To: Orbiting_Rosie's_Head
Baloney

I farmed until I was was 38 and know a lot about the subject. I have family who grow organic.

You're free to believe what you will, at some point economic reality will enter in to the picture and your balony will again be produced by conventional farming methods.

Continue to buy your substandard food stuffs at outlandish prices. My family is getting rich from your foolish willingnes to transfer your wealth to them.

13 posted on 04/30/2006 8:25:25 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle (God has blessed Republicans with really stupid enemies.)
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To: Balding_Eagle
substandard food stuffs at outlandish prices....My family is getting rich from your foolish willingness

More unproven tripe from someone who don't know what they are talking about.

I am merely pointing out assertions that are being made in this thread with no proof. Your stupid statement just proves more of it. My grandparents grew all of the vegetables they ate organically, canned them, and ate them year round, along with the chickens they raised. This in addition to the jobs they worked. As soon as I retire early from my professional position, I plan to do the same. I don't have to give money to the likes of you, or buy food from farmers who rape the land in order to eat. Any assertions to the contrary are nothing but lies.

Oh,and by the way, about those "economic realities" you mentioned? It's a whole lot cheaper to grow your own if you know what you are doing. It tastes better,too.

14 posted on 04/30/2006 11:03:48 AM PDT by Orbiting_Rosie's_Head
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To: Orbiting_Rosie's_Head

don't know = doesn't know


15 posted on 04/30/2006 11:04:33 AM PDT by Orbiting_Rosie's_Head
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To: Orbiting_Rosie's_Head
I enjoy folks with your viewpoint. And my Mr. Family member is getting wealthy off of it.

He raises organic crops. His crops are the sickest looking crops, with yield level conventional farmers consider disaster levels. His crops are chaffy and light. Yet, because people who buy organic are willing to pay outrageous prices in spite of poor quality, he consistently gets profits multiple times what conventional farmers do.

I'll give two examples: He supplies several large dairys with organic feedstuffs for the cows. When he gets a call for wheat or lentils, he and his son load up the semi truck that gets less than 5 MPG of $3 diesel fuel and start out. They drive back roads, the truck loaded to the gills, switching off drivers, drive 1000 to 1500 miles just to deliver 800 to 1000 bushels to a dairy that's located right next door to a 100,000 bushel pile of conventional wheat. There has been so much conventional wheat they've had to pile it on the ground. But the cows can't eat it. That's OK. Mr Family gets paid for his extra fuel costs, a bonus for emergency deliveries, plus an obscene amount for the organic wheat or lentils.

The dairy has no choice if it wants to keep selling organic, and they know they can just pass all those costs on the people with your viewpoint.

Mr Family puts up with dope smoking 'certifiers' who drop in from time to time to make sure he's actually not producing too good a crop. It's worth it.

Mr. family has his eye on a half million dollar tractor he's always want. His wife is thinking of her second new house in 6 years. All they're hoping for is some widespread wheat infestation, lentil fungus, or something that will cause regular farmers to spray their fields, and organic crops to suffer in yield.

Is he laughing at folks like you? Yap, all the way to the bank.

With your money. Look out, he essentially has your PIN number!

16 posted on 04/30/2006 12:48:29 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (God has blessed Republicans with really stupid enemies.)
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To: Balding_Eagle
With your money. Look out, he essentially has your PIN number!

No he doesn't. I don't have to buy anything from him at all, a point that is obviously lost on you. The persons who have my PIN number are the "conventional" farmers who pump their cows full of hormones until they almost explode from overproduction, and then stick me with the bill for price support subsidies. And how about the owner of the 100,000 bushel pile of wheat? How long before he cries for subsidies because the price is too low to pay for the next load of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified seed he has to license? I also love his government payment for not growing things.

I'll stick with organic milk for now. That way I won't have to worry about my sons growing saggy man breasts.

17 posted on 04/30/2006 1:53:34 PM PDT by Orbiting_Rosie's_Head
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To: Yeti

LOL!


18 posted on 04/30/2006 1:57:32 PM PDT by savedbygrace (SECURE THE BORDERS FIRST (I'M YELLING ON PURPOSE))
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To: Orbiting_Rosie's_Head

As you've correctly pointed out, you don't have to buy anything from him.

But if you are buying organic milk, you are willingly, though indirectly, buying from him or guys like him. They are the ones who produce and sell the outragously priced organic feedstuffs to the dairy.

Just think, each bushel of wheat deliverd to that dairy has 1 gallon of fuel used just to make that final delivery. This happens month after month.

And don't think for a moment he doesn't appreciate it. He really wants that new tractor.


19 posted on 04/30/2006 2:07:54 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (God has blessed Republicans with really stupid enemies.)
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To: Balding_Eagle

That's the beauty if the free market. I can buy from whomever I please, even fictitious relatives of people who make stuff up trying to defend bloated, government subsidized farming. And I really don't care. I make enough money to buy the things I please. If I want to feed my son milk without synthetic hormones in it, that's my business. But I don't have to passively accept comments from people who declare I am dependent on Monsanto to eat. I can call it baloney, because it is.


20 posted on 04/30/2006 4:33:40 PM PDT by Orbiting_Rosie's_Head
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To: org.whodat
How do you know that they are really so called organic, because the farmer told you, would you like to buy some bridge stock???

Well, the very name Organic, ehrn used as a product descriptor, is now Federal property. To comply with those standards, the growers have to jump through a series of hoops and be certified. In the end, though, many crops and products are still subject random contamination and, like honey, no real protection against supposed chemical detriment.

I can understand the desire of people to know where their food comes from and to have some control over what they eat. Unfortunately, for many, it becomes a fear based belief system and taken to its extreme, more like bad religion.
21 posted on 04/30/2006 5:17:16 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Di'ver'si'ty (adj.): A compound word derived from the root words: division; perversion; adversity.)
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To: Orbiting_Rosie's_Head
even fictitious relatives

Believe what you will, they were our guest for Thanksgiving. Driving a brand new F250.

of people who make stuff up trying to defend bloated, government subsidized farming.

I'm not trying to defend anything. My father hated any govenment involvment, and we resisted it as long as we could. If I were still farming, I'd be selling organic.

I'm laughing at your foolishness.

What got me started with you was your "Baloney" assertion that somehow growing organic doesn't affect how many people we can feed.

I left farming 20 years ago. At that time the total corn crop was a little under 7 B bushels. Today, 20 years later, on less ground, using fewer inputs, we produce over 12 billion. That all came from conventional farming. Organic farming would produce about 4 billion poor quality, not 12.

Go spend your money, more power to you, but don't spread the lie that everyone can do organic. They can't

22 posted on 04/30/2006 5:18:26 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (God has blessed Republicans with really stupid enemies.)
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To: Balding_Eagle
I agree with what you say.

Personally, I have an organic garden largely because I'm lazy and don't want ag chemicals laying around with critters and kids. Having said that, I have no problem with proper use of ag chemicals if needed and part of a sound IPM program.

Conventional agriculture (AKA: input agriculture, green revolution technology, etc.) does, indeed, feed the world. Norman Borlaug did more to alleviate human suffering than any other person in the history of the world. In fact, probably 25% or India and China today is alive because of his hybrid selection program and chemical input use. The bottom line is that Western ag feeds the world and, as you said, it does so with less land each year and less and less inputs every year.

Organic ag, OTOH, can never, will never, meet the world's needs. The biomass needed to replenish the soil's loss over much of the fertile world could never be met without direct importation at a tremendous cost - in effect, unsustainable. Like you, I am intending on making organic ag production a larger part of my own enterprises and, in the future, the main basis of my land's production - because of the money.
23 posted on 04/30/2006 5:44:37 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Di'ver'si'ty (adj.): A compound word derived from the root words: division; perversion; adversity.)
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To: Balding_Eagle
Go spend your money, more power to you, but don't spread the lie that everyone can do organic. They can't

If your friend is getting rich from "fools" like me, why not? Your view doesn't make any sense. Every day I see more and more "health food" on the shelves without the usual conglomeration of additives, hormones, chemicals, etc. It seems the world is full of fools. Imagine: Some people want something they consider good, and someone else is willing to provide it. What a shame. I'll buy my organinc milk, and you can have your 12 billion bushels of corn, most of which is wasted making sweetners for soda-pop, and inefficient fuel that tears up the engine in your car.

24 posted on 04/30/2006 6:11:19 PM PDT by Orbiting_Rosie's_Head (13EAEE4)
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To: Orbiting_Rosie's_Head
I'll stick with organic milk for now. That way I won't have to worry about my sons growing saggy man breasts.

No, but you evidently don't mind raising the risks of your son developing type 1 diabetes.

Cow's milk is not good for anyone to consume. You don't even get the benefits of the calcium after two years of age. It has been implicated in causing type 1 diabetes as well as possibly causing many food allergies.

25 posted on 04/30/2006 6:13:28 PM PDT by yhwhsman ("Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small..." -Sir Winston Churchill)
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