Tag Archives: Certified Organic

Patience

We are up and running smoothly with farmersdotter Studio Guesthomes. We are enjoying hosting guests, entertaining, and the stimulating conversation that comes with meeting new friends. There are two guest houses available to visitors, one we refer to Osprey and the other is called Owl. Both named for the birds of prey that frequent the property.

 

Owl Exterior

Owl Exterior

However, we are not one-hundred per cent complete. A few tasks have yet to be completed but nothing that will interfere with the overall experience of a staycation on the farm.

I am looking forward to writing a post mortem, a treatise to substantiate the completion of an activity that has consumed the past fourteen months of our lives.  I’m not convinced ‘complete’ is a concept fully embraced by the trades.

Osprey Interior

Osprey Interior

Here is the deal in one word: Patience

Underlined, italicized in bold and straight up in your face. Do not go past go without burning that word into the gray matter. Patience. And now, visualize a lineup of exclamation marks posterior waving stop signs like a coked-up bare-foot flag person on hot pavement.

Osprey Kitchenette

Osprey Kitchenette

Here is my issue: professionals adhering to my timeline. There is no doubt, as in our case, contractors of repute are capable, trustworthy and have the best intentions but simply stated shit happens.

Owl Deck

Owl Deck

When you commit to a project of hard hats and steel toed boots your challenge on a daily basis becomes one of controlling the amount of pooh that can rapidly develop. That and fostering a tolerance for excuses. Everything from natural disasters of biblical proportions to an uncanny regular occurrence of back, neck, shoulder, and bowel discomfort to family crisis and hangovers. Not to mention other ongoing construction needs taking resourses away from your project.

Owl Kitchenette

Owl Kitchenette

So here is my postmortem post but first I shall clear up a few projects. All I ask for is your patience.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 


Organic Pooh-Pooher

Certified organic pooh-pooher’s are like glow-sticks; they illuminate once vigorously shaken. If you are an organic pooh-pooher get ready for the light.

We have accounted for our harvest this season and yielded 4.4 pounds on 3,320 pounds of seed for a total harvest of 14,616 pounds of Russian red garlic, the only variety we grow. This is a ratio that we have realized for a few years now and one we believe to be at the top end for the variety we grow.

We break down our harvest into five categories:

1- Number one garlic which is the premium quality garlic sold to consumers.

Premium Consumer Garlic

Premium Consumer Garlic

2- Number two garlic which is lesser quality in appearance than number one yet has the exact same characteristics where it counts; taste and keeping quality.

3: Seed garlic which is the very best garlic. Chosen for size and symmetry these bulbs are retained for our seed bank to be broken apart to be replanted as seed (individual cloves) each fall.

Seed Garlic

Seed Garlic

4: Time Savour garlic which are the individual cloves from the seed garlic that once revealed show themselves to be not suitable candidates for planting. Either because the cloves have too small of a basal plate to develop good roots or two or more cloves are fused together and would produce only number two garlic at best. The Time Savour cloves are sold in bulk primarily to chefs. Again the culinary characteristics are superb and they store as well as whole bulbs.

5: Waste garlic which, as the name suggests is garlic deemed not suitable for consumption. Mostly due to mechanical damage from the harvesting process and some due to pathogens.

Waste Garlic

Waste Garlic

But here is where organics shines… heh

Of the 14,616 pounds harvested only 120 pounds fell into the waste garlic category. That is a mere .82% of the total yield. Number two garlic came in at 1.12% or 164 pounds. This means we were less than 2% away from perfection and all on about one acre of land which is 17% to 33% better than conventional garlic farming where only 10,000 to 12,000 pound per acre is harvested. This is something we attribute 100% to organic practices.

So to the pooh-poohers who say organics can not feed the world; who insist organics can not achieve high yields.

Back at you.

 


Penticton Farmers’ Market Named Market of the Year

For Immediate Release Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Penticton Farmers’ Market Named Market of the Year

PENTICTON, B.C. – The Penticton Farmers’ Market is proud to announce it has been named “Market of the Year” by the British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets. The award, handed out March 5 at the BCAFM annual conference in Kelowna, recognized the PFM in the medium-sized market category.

 

PFM Award

“The Penticton Farmers’ Market Society is honoured to receive this award,” says market manager Erin Trainer. “Over the last 25 years, the society has worked hard to maintain a quality market that stays true to our values. All of our vendors make, bake or grow what they sell. The market has been able to provide a venue where small-scale farmers can sell directly to the public, creating a sustainable local economy and contributing to food security in the Okanagan.”

In addition, Trainer says the society is grateful for its customers’ support. She adds the market has become a destination that locals and tourists look forward to each Saturday.

New this year, the PFM is scheduled to open two weeks earlier on Saturday, April 23, and is currently working with the city to finalize road closure permits.

“Our vendors are eager to start in April and have produce ready to sell,” says Trainer. “Many farmers’ markets in BC operate year round, so this is an opportunity to find out if that’s something our customers are looking for as well.” Market goers can expect to find asparagus, kale, spinach, and salad greens; flowers; honey; eggs; baking; preserves and handmade crafts.

On Monday, March 7, a market delegation presented its concerns to Penticton city council about the revitalization of the 100 block of Main Street. The society’s past president, Moses Brown, told council the plans will narrow the street, restricting crowd movement; and will limit the number of vendor vehicles. Brown explained that farmers need their vehicles to store their produce and protect it from weather. Brown also expressed concerns that construction is set to begin in September, one of the market’s busiest months. The market may have to move during this time, although a location has not been chosen.

Finally, the PFM welcomes Justene Wright, owner of Food of the Sun, as its new president. She was elected at the society’s AGM earlier this month. Corey Brown, owner of Blackbird Organics, was re-elected as vice-president. The PFM is entering its 26th season and has approximately 45 members in its society, along with 30 casual vendors and 30 rotating liquor vendors. Typically the market hosts 60 – 80 vendors per week. It is open every Saturday until October 29 from 8:30am until 1pm in the 100 Block of Main St.


Shit Happens

Shit happens. Yes. Yes it does.

And when it does it will likely shake your confidence and betray your trust.

In the previous post we discussed trusting the certified organics industry in Canada requiring a leap of faith and that shit can happen.

For example, its like knowing you were doing your part to save dear Mother Earth. You’ve been voting with your wallet, tirelessly refusing to add a single penny into the coffers of some world raping, duplicitous, multinational, commodity-pushing conglomerate of all things poopie.

You’ve been doing the right thing all along.

And then? Well then you discover all along you’ve been duped.

Shit.

Its the moment you realize Häagen Dazs is actually owned by Pepsico.

Shit!

“Mommy, how come the mean man makes Huggin-Däys?”

Ben & Jerry?

Did you know Ben & Jerry sold out to Unilever? The same Unilever with annual revenues up there with Nestle, Proctor and Gamble, and Kraft Foods.

Shit-shit, double shit!

Same shit different day.

I digress.

So here is the shit, if you will on certified organics.

Participation in organics in Canada is voluntary. It requires anyone desirous of a certified organic designation to consent to COR (Canadian Organic Regime) as administered through their chosen CB (Certifying Body)

But honestly, organics is about land stewardship. Organics is about farming the soil not produce. Farm the soil well and awesome nutritious produce will follow.

Point being organics is more about sustainability. More about a lifestyle. More about custodianship than business.

Organics as an industry exists because consumers need a method to differentiate organics from conventional farming.

Personally, I maintain if organic operations must endure audits then conventional farmers must bear similar responsibility to third party oversight.

More so because as it stands right now a conventional operation can spray whatever shit poison they choose and have no obligation, moral or otherwise to disclose their spray records as do organic operations.

The system is not perfect. It is as strong as the weakest link in the chain. From an over hormonic stock boy to the under paid itinerant farm worker bent on sabotage; shit happens.

This is where you come in.

If you suspect a product listed as organic is disingenuous then please bring your concerns to the reseller, farmer, producer or whoever. Hold there feet to the fire and demand accountability.

Any organic operation will be prepared to provide the appropriate certificate for inspection. Indeed, most would also suggest a tour of their operation and offer up samples.

 

 


What the F- -k is Organic Anyway?

Glad you asked.

On one hand I’m a tad confused.

On the other hand the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) aka the your federal overseer of everything foodie including the organic industry in this country, defines organic thusly:

An organic product is an agricultural product that has been certified as organic. A product can be certified if it is produced using the methods outlined by the Canadian Organic Standards.

There, simple.

Understand the methods outlined by the Canadian Organic Standards and you understand organics.

Ya. Good luck with that.

Ever known an onion to have one layer? Of course not. It wouldn’t be an onion otherwise.

So what does organic really mean to you at the check-out counter? The reality requires a leap of faith. The Canadian organic industry, in all its infancy is asking for your trust.

Is your trust misplaced?

Maybe. More on that later.

The system isn’t perfect however, it would be virtually impossible for certified organic growers, producers, packers, and resellers to be disingenuous for a couple of reasons.

One: It is not in our best interest and two: why would an operation endure the headache and expense of the audit process unless they weren’t serious about organics?

But shit happens. More on that later too.

So you’ve made it this far. Might as well get comfortable. Have a sip.

Lovely.

COR (Canadian Organic Regime) the outer layer of the onion is the:

Government of Canada’s response to requests by the organic sector and consumers to develop a regulated system for organic agricultural products. The Organic Products Regulations define specific requirements for organic products to be labelled as organic or that bear the Canada Organic logo. All organic products bearing the Canada Organic logo

Canada Organic

Canada Organic

or represented as organic in interprovincial and international trade must comply with the Organic Products Regulations.

British Columbia Certified Organic

British Columbia Certified Organic

COR was been developed to:

  • Protect consumers against misleading or deceptive labelling practices;
  • Reduce consumer confusion about the definition of organic;
  • Facilitate the access of Canadian organic products to foreign markets that require regulatory oversight; and
  • Support further development of the domestic market.

These regulations which came into effect on June 30, 2009 are monitored and enforced by the CFIA through one of several CB’s (Certification Bodies) who are accredited and responsible for verifying the application of the Canadian Organic Standards.

For us on the ground this means we choose to belong to an appropriate CB who dispatches a VO (verification officer) who in turn performs an annual onsite audit to verify our compliance to COR. These VO’s are independent contractors and are in no way to be confused as an employee functioning on behalf of a Certifying Body.

So understanding CB’s.

Most CB’s are umbrellaed under provincial oversight. For example in BC we have the COABC (Certified Organic Association of BC) who:

is an umbrella association representing organic certifying [bodies] agencies in the province.

An ‘agricultural organization’ will choose to belong to a sympathetic CB with a mandate that best suits the certifying needs of that organizations.

Some CB’s are regional in scope which means they certify individual operations with local to provincial markets. Others like ours,  PACS  (Pacific Agricultural Certification Society) are ISO compliant which means they are  inter-provincial and international in scope as well as addressing local concerns.

Whatever.

Suffice it to say there are a shit load CB’s in this country and they are all mandated to adhere to the core values of COR.

Heh… see what I did there.

So this means the Canadian certified organic industry is administered by CBs who adhere to and interpret COR when granting annual organic certification based upon audits performed by an independent third party VO.

This rube is confident that by the time I get to the check out counter I am able to vote confidently with my wallet.

Trust me.

 

 

 

 

 

 


%d bloggers like this: