in the kitchen

Earthbound Farm Experience

Experience Earthbound organic with Go Gingham

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!

Sara Tetreault at Earthbound Farm
Yes, I rode in this baby and no they didn’t let me drive it – which is probably best.

Earthbound Farm Experience included 6 bloggers and myself. We really peppered the Earthbound folks with questions!

Experience Earthbound Farm tour with Go Gingham
Amelia getting to the nuts and bolts of growing vegetables using organic methods.

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).

Experience Earthbound Farm with Go Gingham

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.

Fields on Earthbound Farm
If only this were my vegetable garden filled with these laser straight lines! Yeah, right.

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.

Experience Earthbound Farm with Go Gingham
Harvested, tagged, and then onto the conveyor belt. This sort of efficiency means the veggies stay fresher longer.

Then it was ready to be shipped off to a grocer.

Experience Earthbound Farm ready for delivery
I wanted to bring this home with me. Dinner!

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.”

Experience Earthbound Farm and growing

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.

Experience Earthbound Farm with Go Gingham

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.

Earthbound Farm triple washing
Salad spinners gone wild! Yes, those lettuces are triple-washed.

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.

Earthbound Farm Organic Kale with Go Gingham
Fields of kale. They looked like little palm trees.

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.

Earthbound Farm with Stan
Earthbound Partner/Farmer, Stan Pura, who seemed okay spending his day with a few bloggers!

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.

6 thoughts on “Earthbound Farm Experience

  1. Interesting! I’m curious about what’s growing in the test tubes.

    I was smiling when I read about people complaining of bugs in their lettuce. We grow our own lettuce and bugs are the least icky thing I’ve found–every once in a while a slug makes an appearance–and I call my husband to deal with it! Blech. A little bug wouldn’t faze me at all.


    1. Kris, they’re little plant starts – like when you snip (ok, I do it but maybe you don’t) a little stem or leaf from a neighbor’s plant and then they grow in water. You can see their little roots. 🙂 I’m with you – those pesky slugs drive me nuts! This year I’ve found 7-9 snails in our garden and I’ve never found any before. They are funny with their big shells and all. Thanks, Kris!!


  2. I get my lettuces from our CSA (Groundwork Organics in Junction City, OR) during the market season (June-Nov) and I sometimes find gnat-like buggies in the greens, or a worm on an ear of corn. I feel the same way about the bugs that you do – it’s proof that they weren’t using pesticides! And it makes me feel great! It does make me wonder how a bug would survive the triple-washing process at Earthbound though. That’s one tough bug!


    1. Well, with all that beautiful sun – it makes sense! 🙂 Tough bugs grow stronger with all that sun! Actually, I have no idea. If I were a bug, I’d hang on and snack on those good greens, too. Thanks, Liana!


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