If you’re a pomegranate fan, this here is pomegranate season and you need to get that itch scratched! Every farm around here has a pomegranate tree growing somewhere—usually by the pump to shade the tank—because they’re pretty, easy to grow, and almost impossible to kill. Give ‘em any kind of attention, water ‘em once in a while and they’ll reward you with a fall crop every year.
Now just because they’re easy doesn’t mean you can totally ignore ‘em (more love equals more, larger and prettier fruit) but on the list of easy fruit to grow, pomegranates are right up there.
And every farmer knows the fruit hasn’t reached its full potential until it cracks. At the end of the growing season, the arils (the little red seed thingys inside) start swelling with sugar and literally burst the rind; not rocket science, cracked pomegranates are the best, but the cracks make them unmarketable for fresh market, it’s considered a defect. Cracked pomegranates are some of the little treasures you can only get from AHO, some of the favorite things we love to share.
Okay, shifting gears, there has been some organic fraud in the news lately. Large scale grain imports called organic haven’t been.
I really hate this because we work so hard, spend so much effort figuring out how to grow quality produce organically; not to mention the effort to document that all the things we do and the ways we do it meet the stringent organic standards we not only all agreed to but continue to refine; sickening. Without an assumption of integrity, what’s the label really worth?
I have a few thoughts on this and want to also address the “what are we supposed to do?” question.
In the day, before organic became the property of our USDA, the organic pioneers of “The Movement” (both consumers and farmers) hashed out what practices and materials were allowable in food that they cooperatively certified as organic.
You might think this was the fox guarding the hen house, but in reality, nobody cares about the integrity of organic more than its legitimate producers, and nobody can spot an organic cheater like an organic farmer. Also, no one is more tenacious about defending the label than someone who earns his living from it.
We can’t go back there, so what are you supposed to do to insure you’re getting what you pay for?
First, I’ve been to some third world countries with stores that legitimately sold authentic Rolex watches. But generally, a guy on the street in those parts of the world is assumed to be selling knock-offs. There are countries—and it’s not politically correct to identify them—that have cultures of corruption, where the natural inclination is to do whatever you can get away with. If you’re smart enough to be getting a weekly box of AHO produce, you’re smart enough to know which they are, and view their organic claims accordingly.
Finally, know who your farmer is. You wouldn’t go to a doctor, dentist, hire a plumber or a roofer without either knowing them or getting some very good references. I can tell you absolutely, your farmer is more important than your doctor, dentist, plumber, or roofer. Do your due diligence, enjoy peace of mind and stay healthy.