I have been a grower for over forty years and a seller of produce for over 15 years. I know that it is one of the most dishonest businesses around. Buying produce can be as bad as dealing with a used car salesman. Finding one who is honest is rare, finding produce people who will tell you the truth is also rare. If you find someone you can trust, you better hang on to them. I found out long time ago that when you deal with someone the first time, be sure to check the bottom of the box or basket. Unscrupulous people will put fresh produce on top of rotten. Or tell you it is something other than what it is as in "Organics."
Did you know that you are allowed to sell up to $5,000.00 worth of food and call yourself organic - WHETHER YOU ARE OR NOT? And that's not all. It has been my experience, and my estimation that 80% of the people who say they are organic are not. They do not believe in that lifestyle, do not use the guidelines for healthier living and don't care if you do either, they are interested only in the size of your wallet and how ignorant you are about what you buy. This 80% use the term organic only to raise the price of what they sell. Yes, there are some people who really do believe in healthier living and want you to live well also but they are few and far between.
Back in the sixties, organic gardening as we think of it today actually got its start with the hippies and their communes where everything they grew was organic, including the pot they smoked. And then some person came along and saw the way they were growing things and thought it would be a much better way to raise food and wanted to buy some of their food. They were willing to give ridiculously high prices for it. Even a hippy can get greedy. After a while they said to each other, "Wow, man, these dudes are pretty stupid, they will give any amount for this stuff." The word got around and more and more people realized that, if they told people they grew things "naturally," they wouldn't know any better and would pay extra for it.
Since then, a lot of loopholes have been found and even the USDA lets people "fudge" a little and get by with things that aren't what they are supposed to be. I read in a Farmers' Market magazine lately where USDA was letting some foods be labeled "Natural" and this was "muddying the waters" and making things confusing. No wonder people don't know what's going on. Then there is the organic honey. HUH? Bees are known to go several miles from their hives at times. You can't know they only go to organic flowers. But they are allowed to label the honey organic.
One other thing to consider, if "organic farmers" don't use all the chemicals that regular farms do, where is the extra cost involved that "forces" them to raise their prices four times more than other farmers? Is it the paperwork involved in getting certified organic? My husband and I keep all kinds of paperwork on what we do, expenses, income, taxes charged on taxable items, which crops are where in the garden and when they were planted, came in and were harvested. Which ones did well and which ones did not. I bet we do more paperwork than the supposed organic growers do. My computer is full of folders and files every year where we keep records. Yet our prices are reasonable and we don't misrepresent what we sell.
Hi, my name is Pat Switzer. My husband's name is Bill. We work hard to bring good, fresh produce to market. It will never say it is organic because it isn't. That doesn't mean we spray poisons all over the place but it does mean we do occasionally have to spray when something really becomes a problem. When we do, we use the least instrusive products we can and wait till the label says it is safe to pick it again. Sometimes, as in the case of aphids, we spray with a blast of water. Because of all the misinformation about organics, we don't believe in labeling our produce as anything other than fresh, locally grown produce.
We use soaker hoses to irrigate, so that we have produce all through the season and it is clean because the whole garden is under straw. As the straw breaks down it adds to the soil. We do use some fertilizer but don't need very much and use composted materials as much as possible. That's who we are and what we do. If you want to know more about us - ASK. We don't have anything to hide.
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