What is organic and why is it the latest health trend? The recent push for organically grown produce has left many traditional farmers in a lurch without the time or money to convert their land.
Organic.org defines the term as produce grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms or sewage sludge. Instead, organic farming uses natural processes including green manure, crop rotation and compost to grow crops. Green manure is the process of using a dying or already uprooted crop as a source of nutrients for another crop.
The government has outlined clear stipulations for farms applying for organic certification. Inspections are one step of the process. Another hoop farmers jump through is converting their farm land. This three-year process involves building up the land's fertility and soil nutrition. Strict regulations and government audits stop many from achieving 100 percent organic status. Some local farmers practice organic farming without pursuing the government certification.
Some family operated farms stick to traditional farming methods because the process to become certified organic is too costly and unwieldy. It's difficult to decide whether growing organically is worth the extra effort. When a farm barely breaks even, how could it sustain itself while going through this process?
Does organic produce taste better? Is it worth the extra cost? These are choices each individual makes when strolling through a farmers market or grocery store. If you only want organic produce, keep an eye out for the organic certification sticker.
Pearl Market farmers may or may not practice organic growing, but we ask that all the produce sold comes directly from the family farm. We want our customers to get to know the farmers that grow their food.