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Archive for February, 2015

Local CVP Asparagus Is Back!

Asparagus is fantastic eaten raw, steamed and grilled. Brian Violini from Coastal View Produce in Gonzales, CA has been growing asparagus for over 40 years. Beautiful grown, picked and packed. Enjoy through the 4th of July!



Enjoy peeled raw in a salad or topped on a pizza.





February Blueberry Update

What can you expect when you go shopping for blueberries this February? We can expect to see Chilean blueberries through the end of March with sizes decreasing from 6oz packs to 4.4 oz packs. The weather has not presented any particular challenges on the import blues this season but we have seen a decrease in overall volume due to the Chilean grape vine moth. The biggest challenge has been strikes at the ports which can delay the fruit from being released resulting in erratic and irregular arrivals.

California blueberries have started up in Southern California, think Oxnard. Temperatures have been in the low 80’s and blueberries love that heat! We expect supply to increase.

Forbidden blueberries located in Lompoc, CA are a favorite of Earl’s Organic and their outstanding flavor will keep you coming back for more.  Sandy, the grower, is expecting the 80 degree weather this week to help bring on the fruit. She lost 1/3 of her plants to the hard freeze on New Year’s Eve. The cold weather pushed the plants back into flowering again and now she is playing catch up. All of her plants are flowering now and we can expect to see her fruit in about a month or so. In order to keep up with the demand for her blueberries Sandy is planning on planting another 2 ½ acres of blueberries this fall.

Don’t miss Earl this weekend on An Organic Conversation as he gives a “What’s In Season” blueberry update. Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!

I like you berry much

EcoFarm 2015 Experience

The crew from Earl’s Organic came back from EcoFarm 2015 more inspired than ever to be working in the organic field. EcoFarm is the oldest and largest yearly ecological agricultural gathering in the West where over 1,500 people meet to create, maintain and promote healthy, safe and just food farming systems. Located in Pacific Grove, CA with over 60 workshops covering all aspects of ecological farming and food and farmer discussion groups it is hard to choose which ones to attend. Learn more about the EcoFarm experience from the eyes of a few Earl’s employees.

EcoFarm Display

EcoFarm Produce Display in Merrill Hall


Jessica Cole- Receiving and Quality Control

EcoFarm was a much different experience in comparison to the engineering/technical conferences I have been to in the past. The atmosphere was much more relaxed and I was able to walk the grounds, engage in conversation and attend seminars of my choosing. Everyone I met was incredibly friendly. I was astounded by the willingness and eagerness of people to both explain their interests as well as actively listen to mine – in general it seemed people were there to expand their understanding and increase connections throughout every aspect of the food chain.

The seminar I was most looking forward to attending was titled “Science Supporting Organic and Applied Organic Research Needs” presented by Jessica Shade of The Organic Center and Brise Tencer of Organic Farming Research Foundation. These two ladies were two of the most engaging presenters I have ever seen. They were passionate, knowledgeable and very articulate. It was interesting to see an overview of current studies ranging from soil content to disease susceptibility to nutritional benefits. I was encouraged to hear that there is a push to make grants a possibility, not just through universities, but for anyone so long as the results stay in the public domain. I believe having multiple paths for funding options and recipients will help to diversify the studies being performed and hopefully allow the results to be distributed to a larger audience. And through a cycle of exploration, communication and application an organic, more sustainable food chain becomes better understood and accepted.

Mary Rendon- Sales Associate

I was thoroughly pleased with my overall experience at the conference. One of the most intriguing seminars I attended was “The Dinosaurs rise again”. I was very impressed with the speakers. I know of Rick Lejeune, but not of his history and how he came into the business. It was very inspiring to hear how he started the Santa Cruz cooperative farms.  He spoke of his many travels and his start into the family business which is now the logistics part of the organic industry in the LA produce market. Next a gentlemen from Bob Scaman Goodness Greenness spoke and his story was very touching it actually brought tears to my eyes.  He thanked Cal-Organic for some advice he was given in the beginning of his lowest times in the business. That really made an impact on his personal life and his integrity and unity of the organic industry. Tom Mello from Amy Kitchen has known Earl for many years and I enjoyed hearing about how he built a great business. Lastly Sibella Kraus from S.A.G.E organization was full of lots of dynamic inspiring stories. She started at Chez Panisse working with Alice Waters and has spoken over the vast years with senators and Prince Charles. She spoke of her many travels, has worked at Greenleaf produce, and is also closely connected to the San Francisco Produce Market.

After working for almost 20 years in the organic industry I felt revitalized with an overwhelming feeling of appreciation for all that we represent to the farmers and the people we work with in every aspect of what we do every day. I also feel a sense of gratitude and loyalty as well. These people represent a presence that will hopefully inspire the youth of today to move forward in the organic business and help to make way for the growing changes on many levels, state wide and globally.

Anthony Mirisciotta- Sales Associate

Overall, EcoFarm was an excellent experience. I left the conference feeling really great about where I am and whom I work with! It was a great orientation for me into the California Ag world. Being from the East Coast produce/farming world I have always had preconceived notions of what the world of California produce/farming was about, so it was absolutely fantastic to see it and hear the stories firsthand. I was most interested in the dinosaurs of produce talk, to dig a little deeper into the history and world of California agriculture. Many great speakers were on the panel, to give a few different angles into the local history. My favorite was Rick Lejeune of Heath and Lejeune out of LA. He had a fabulous story of his start at the UCSC garden on campus and moving onto his attempt at farming with a group of friends in Alabama. He had great pictures that went along every step of his story, and he was a great speaker!

I have attended and even presented at NOFA conferences in New England in the recent past, so I am familiar with events similar to ECO.  I would have to say the energy and people at ECO seem much more positive and involved in the past, present and future.

Shane Terry- Quality Control Specialist

EcoFarm was everything I hoped it would be!  Farmers, distributors and retailers, all coming together to share their knowledge and passion for the organic farming movement and the industry it’s created.  Many of the seminars I sat in on were, of course, educational, but also inspiring and encouraging!

Being a native of Santa Cruz, CA, and now a resident of the East Bay, the organic farming movement and the types of people who champion it are part of my everyday experience, but EcoFarm has helped me better understand how small, dedicated pockets of the world, like my little Santa Cruz, have made waves throughout the food industry.  People all across the country are interested in making healthier choices for their bodies and families!  People want to make sustainable choices for the planet!  People want to buy organic produce!  At EcoFarm there is a culture of people both young and old, bringing their ideas together and revolutionizing the way the food industry works, from the field all the way to the checkout line.  We’re all proving that we can create a healthy, harmonious utopia here on Earth, and that taking part in that change can be profitable!  I left EcoFarm feeling very fortunate that the company I work for and the industry it thrives in are supporting my values and addressing my concerns for the Earth.

 Marie Koesnodihardjo- Accounting and Administrative Assistant

One of my favorite seminars from the Eco Farm Conference addressed the issue of sustainability in business. As a graduate of UC Berkeley in Conservation and Resource Studies, I was very curious to hear the conversation about sustainability at the corporate level.

The “What is a B Corp?” seminar included representatives from B Labs (the non-profit entity that certifies companies as B Corps), Veritable Vegetable (a certified B Corp), and a California farmer. I was surprised by how many questions from the audience were focused on the legality of B Corp in terms of ensuring that the values of the company withstand corporate acquisition. Cost was another major issue especially for farmers who see income fluctuations yearly and may not be able to afford the cost of maintaining certification.

In an industry that is already pushing for sustainable alternatives to modern industrialized practices, the conversation about sustainability isn’t whether or not to implement more sustainable practices. The B Corp Assessment is a free tool that allows corporations to assess corporate practices. If cost is an issue, then there is always the option to simply take the assessment and see how your company compares to your competitors.

Most prospective B Corps forget that the value of the certification is in being a part of a network of companies that is changing business as usual. As a recent college graduate, I was particularly drawn to Earl’s Organic Produce because there is a Sustainability Manager position and I felt that my personal values are reflected by the way Earl’s conducts business. While I believe Earl’s Organic Produce doesn’t need a certification to prove our commitment to sustainability and our core values there are many other ways Earl’s can benefit from becoming B Corp certified.

Overall, the Eco Farm conference showed me the range of businesses and people that are involved in the agriculture industry. I appreciated that the conference catered to “dinosaurs” of the industry as well as new farmers. The Asilomar Conference Grounds are a beautiful background for this gathering of people who are so passionate about what they do.

Each and every year Earl invites a new group of employees to join EcoFarm. We can all be inspired by the stories above and look forward to next years conference.

Organicology Kicks Off!

Organicology kicks off today in Portland, Oregon with intensive training sessions, workshops, farm tour, world class speakers and a chance to network with your peers. The four day agriculture conference is a chance to develop your skills in your own area of expertise and provides a chance to gain exposure to the challenges and accomplishments of those in other areas of the trade and movement. Organicology’s mission is to combine the passion for food and agriculture to create a truly unique conference that drives our food system toward a healthier, sustainable future. ??????????????????

Intensive sessions on Thursday give you a deeper understanding of key initiatives. Topics include from growing seed to produce merchandising, to food safety updates, sustainable business models and more. Workshops on Friday are designed to instill, elaborate on and engage the many issues and topics relevant to the organic trade.  Saturday is devoted entirely to the Organicology Tradeshow, a gathering of organic producers, farmers, businesses and organizations. This organic exhibition is the network where exhibitors and attendees can unite and connect with each other.

Earl’s has representatives from our Sales and Sustainability department attending. This will be the second year for Katherine Vining, Sustainability and Vendor Compliance Manager to join Organicology. Over the past year Kathy has worked with the Sustainable Food Trade Association to create a formal sustainability program, convene and direct an internal sustainability team, begin to track and record Earl’s Organics’ usage metrics, write Earl’s first annual sustainability report, and manage projects to reduce the environmental impact of our office and warehouse operation. Earl’s Organic has a goal of zero waste by the year 2020. We can look forward to hearing about their Organicology experience in a future blog.


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