Earlier this month, I went to a farm – but not just any farm. I was invited to Earthbound Farm Organic’s headquarters in Carmel Valley, California. As I flew into the San Jose airport, I had a few questions about Earthbound Farm Organic and I was looking forward to having them answered.
For the record, I really wanted to drive this tractor but then I got nervous with all the straight lines in the field!
Earthbound Farm Experience included 6 bloggers and myself. We really peppered the Earthbound folks with questions!
1. Are they really growing vegetables using organic methods and standards?
Yes, they’re growing food using methods that are good for the health and harmony of the earth, the people, and the animals. You can read more about organic practices (“Organic 101”) but basically they’re not using fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients and there are no genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
2. Is Earthbound Farm turning organic into “industrial organic?”
While they are not going out and picking the lettuces by hand like they used to when Earthbound Farm began nearly 30-years ago, they have built an efficient system that gets their product to the consumer as quickly as possible. Their efficiencies have allowed them to become mainstream and offer organic produce to more consumers at a reasonable price.
This was a good example of getting food quickly from field to table. The broccolette (which is a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale) was harvested and tagged right in the field.
Then it was ready to be shipped off to a grocer.
3. Are they trying to put local farmers and farmers’ markets out of business?
No, they are trying to bring organic fruits and vegetables to places that don’t have access to (or space to grow their own) good, pesticide free lettuces, greens, and other produce. Earthbound Farm would be happy if there were more organic farmers around and they wish there would be more companies and growers “doing organic.”
What really surprised (and impressed!) me, was their willingness to share what they’ve learned and the technology they’re using with other growers – meaning their competitors. They invite other growers to see what they’re doing and how they’re doing it so that more folks can implement their methods.
4. Are their lettuces and greens really triple washed?
The answer is yes, they triple wash. There are big giant washers that look like – well, washing machines and they do in fact triple wash.
This “triple washing” is a regular discussion at our house. When my kids open a package of spinach from Earthbound Farms, on their nights to make dinner, I’m generally lurking around the kitchen and saying things like, “Don’t forget to use the salad spinner on that spinach.” Their response is always, “But mom! It says right here on the package that they triple wash it. Do we really need to wash it again?” This is about when my husband looks at me with those eyes that say, “Why do you have so many issues? Just let the kids make the salad and enjoy that they’re cooking and we’re not.” Yes, dear.
What I didn’t like about the company….
I wish they weren’t so nice about the random bugs that folks find in their lettuces. (By the way, I only know they are nice about this from reading their Twitter feed and not from actually eavesdropping on the organic hotline.) If you find a bug in your lettuces or other Earthbound Farm Organic product, you can call them and they’ll send you coupons for free product. No, you don’t need to mail them the proof. Or the little bug.
I say, if you can’t fix it, feature it! What could be more organic than finding a little bug in your greens? If I were in charge and people called me on the Earthbound Farm 1-800 number, I’d say, “Oh, isn’t that great! Now, you have confirmation that all those little critters weren’t killed by pesticides and other poisons. It really is organic! Plus, think of the extra protein you’re getting by eating that bug.”
My chances of getting hired to work the customer service phone line are now non-existent. If you do find bugs or any other foreign objects in the package, just call them. They’ll send you coupons to replace the product – and they’ll be super nice about it.
Have you ever found a creepy-crawler in your lettuce? Or lettuces?
Go Gingham related links:
How to invite bees to your garden – we really need bees
5 spots to start a garden – even in small yards like mine
How to use egg shells in the garden – you can do this – today!
Our grid-garden using “Square Foot Gardening” methods – using wood scraps and twine
Raised garden beds – It’s easy to convert grass to growing space
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Earthbound Farm Organic and is being disclosed in accordance with the FTC’s guidelines.