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Archive for July, 2019

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes July 7, 2019

A few weeks ago Fruit Buyer, Jonathan Kitchens and Food Safety Manager/Conditioning Specialist Spencer Bernardo traveled to Ecuador as part of Equal Exchange’s annual banana delegation.  The delegation consisted of Equal Exchange employees, sales members from Four Seasons Distribution and a smattering of produce managers and buyers of grocery co-ops from the Northeast states.  The delegation visited the AsoGuabo banana cooperative that supplies Equal Exchange’s banana program.  AsoGuabo is a cooperative of over 100 small (under 30 hectares) banana producers.  They also visited several growers including an agroforesty producer in the mountains.  They saw all operations from growing and cultivation though harvest and packing.  Read the full story in our latest buyer’s notes.

First U.S. Grown Fair Trade Certified Stone Fruit

Homegrown Organic Farms is proud to represent the first-ever, US-grown Fair Trade Certified stone fruit; grown by none other than Vernon Peterson. Vernon and his family have been farming for over 30 years in Kingsburg in the central San Joaquin Valley.  For Vern, being a part of the Fair Trade movement goes beyond price, beyond organic, and has become about people and the communities surrounding farms that grow the fruit consumers enjoy. Since the beginning, Vern’s view of family reaches far beyond those of immediate relation; his family extends to and includes over 100 year-round employees. Participating in the Fair Trade program is one more tangible way Vern can give even more back to his “extended family members;” to see them succeed while making a difference in their community. This program ensures that people working on his farm are being cared for over and above the industry standard by offering things like healthcare, retirement, longer breaks, and paid time off. The small premium that is collected on each box of fruit sold is returned directly to those workers on Vern’s farm. Those employees elect a committee and that committee is empowered to decide community priorities together, then as a cohort, invest those funds accordingly. With Vern’s Fair Trade journey just beginning, we are excited to see what projects these farm workers come up with to further sustain and better serve their valued, growing communities.

Vernon Peterson Homegrown Organics

Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that develops and oversees standards that work to ensure safe working conditions in the field, benefits for farm workers, and environmental protections for the farm. Within this program, a small premium is collected on every box of Fair Trade produce sold. This premium is returned directly to a committee of farm workers from the farm the fruit originated from. This committee polls workers to learn what the priorities and needs of their community are, then oversees the execution of those projects. Farms all around the world have been able to create infrastructure, medical clinics, education programs, recreation facilities, and so much more because consumers choose to purchase Fair Trade products.

Other benefits of Fair Trade

– Funds community development projects that are chosen by workers

– Prohibits child labor and bans GMOs

– Requires the protection of soil and water biodiversity

– Reduces energy use and greenhouse gas emissions

Go behind the scenes with Vern as he talks about his farm workers and how they’ve become part of his family. https://youtu.be/aZ4DydkbPgw?t=189

First U.S. Grown Fair Trade Certified Stone Fruit

Homegrown Organic Farms is proud to represent the first-ever, US-grown Fair Trade Certified stone fruit; grown by none other than Vernon Peterson. Vernon and his family have been farming for over 30 years in Kingsburg in the central San Joaquin Valley.  For Vern, being a part of the Fair Trade movement goes beyond price, beyond organic, and has become about people and the communities surrounding farms that grow the fruit consumers enjoy.

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes June 30, 2019

Blenheim apricots are the most coveted of the apricot varieties and are fast disappearing. They were brought to California from England in the 1880’s and were grown mostly in the Sacramento and Santa Clara valleys. They have great apricot flavor but are not good travelers and are usually only found at farmers markets. Many growers have abandoned the Blenheim in favor of varieties that are grown for their long shelf life and ability to travel long distances.  There are only a few growers left in California and Earl’s is fortunate to be carrying Dwelley Blenheim apricots, a fourth generation farm, from Brentwood, California.

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