Recently I called the largest whole foods store in my area (17 stores in 5
state region) to see if I could sell them organic, free range poultry. The
meat counter manager told me he already had organic chickens available. When
I asked "who from" he named two poultry producers that are confinement
broiler houses in Pennsylvania. I gently asked who certified them? He then
backtracked and said the poultry sold in his store was "Free Range". When I
gently pointed out to him that the chickens were in fact "confinement" he
said, "Oh No, it says right here on my sign they are Free Roaming".
Who certifies "free roaming" and do consumers believe this is a good thing?
Then I went over to the whole food store's egg case and looked at the
ORGANIC eggs, bought a half dozen for $2.65, took them home and cracked one
open. It looked just like a typical supermarket egg, pallid, soft and
watery. I compared it to one of my own FREE RANGE FOR SURE eggs which had a
big, orange, fat and sassy yoke, and a firm white. No Contest.
How did these ORGANIC eggs get certified when they look and taste like
ordinary supermarket eggs? What about the rest of the organic requirements,
such as rotations, and sunshine, and healthy environments including green
grass, and appropriate stocking rates? Can anyone explain to me why we've
struggled for 25 years to get organic food labeled and into the mainstream,
and then we go and let these sick eggs be called ORGANIC? Can you imagine a
consumer eating one of those tasteless so-called organic eggs and then being
eager to run out and buy more? Or to buy other "organic" produce?
At the same whole foods health food store I left messages for the three
produce buyers, explaining that I want to supply their 17 stores with
organic, free range broilers, eggs and turkeys. None of the three returned
my phone calls.
Not too long ago I attended a organic grain symposium where the main speaker
was from a large whole foods chain. The speaker lamented several times that
they really, really prefer to buy locally, but they simply can't find any
farmers. Contrary to what that speaker said, I think these big whole food
stores won't carry local OR organic produce if it means they have to deal
with someone other than the wholesale broker.
Has anyone else out there had similar experiences?
Good Earth Farm
1702 Mountain View Road
Buena Vista, Virginia 24416
Phone and Fax 540-261-8775
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