So, there’s a new big fish in the produce world in town now. I’m sure you’ve seen there magically, heart tugging ads all over your social feeds and everywhere else you spend time in the cyber world. I know I have. If you don’t spend any time online then you won’t know about Imperfect Produce. But if you do, you’ll see what $47,000,000 in Venture Capital Funding can do. It’s honestly quite amazing, and honestly a step in the right direction for Big Agriculture and the horribly wasteful big shipping, supermarket farm economy. But, it is a huge step backwards for the small, local conscious farm community. So don’t let them fool you or your friends into stepping backwards and straying from the path we are building together.
So, I thought this would be a good reason to really put out there what you are involved in and what your hard earned money is supporting every Sunday night when your subscription is paid, so that you can really and truly enjoy the killer fresh, clean food that shows up with your name on it every week.
First, let’s start with the small, dedicated local organic farmers that are everything we believe in. These are the people that are keeping our food system in tact and the ones that are struggling against the beast of profitibality. Without them, our biodiversity and our soil life would be wiped out so quickly. Because, big farming is gnarly and it does not give a heck about insects, bees, or soil microbiology. Nothing will get in it’s way.
With that said, let’s introduce you to the backbone of Farm Cart Organics, show you our extended fruit hunting region, make fun of big ag’s “late to the party” discovery of “imperfect produce,” talk about real food waste, share why we hate Mexican export farms, inspire you to return your cardboard boxes.
With love and respect,
p.s. Sorry to get all crazy on you guys, but deception gets me really angry.
We support hyper local organic farmers. We are an extended CSA, made up of Shepherd Farms (15 acres/ CSA/ Farmer’s Market only/ Gaviota), Frecker Farms (38 acres/ CSA/ Farmer’s Market/ Small Shipping), John Givens (110 acres/ CSA/ Farmer’s Market/ Small Shipping), Sunrise Organics (110 acres/ CSA/ Farmer’s/ Small Shipping). These farmers have created a stable income selling direct to you guys at the Farmer’s Market and thru our Farm Boxes. They have consciously decided to stay smaller and consequently more profitable by avoiding the volatility and exploitation of the bigger commodity, and shipping agricultural market.
2. And we support a little bit further but still local farmers. To keep things exciting year round, we hunt the fruit seasons within the 250 mile bubble that you see below to bring the crops that we don’t grow here. We work with some larger farms out here that we are very impressed with. This is where you will experience Rundel’s melons, Cuyama’s apples, California Organic’s insane baby potatoes, and Miss Livingston’s sweet potatoes. While our coastal climate is perfect for all the berries, greens, avocados and citrus you can shake a stick at, it is not cold enough or hot enough to grow the killer stone fruits, melons, apples, or table grapes that we all love. This is why you will see farms from Fresno, Cuyama, and Delano our weekly summer lists.
3. ABSOLUTELY NO Mexico Imports: Let me just start by saying, Mexican export farming business is disgusting. How is it ok to pay someone $8.00 for 10 hours of back breaking labor to pick strawberries, avocados, or peppers and then just sashay your produce across the border easy as pie and sell them at United States prices. This is modern day slavery. I love Mexicans, they are my true people, and they are being enslaved. $8.00 is not enough to live. Gasoline is more expensive in Mexico than here. Meat is the same. These guys and gals are literally living on tortillas, beans, rice, and a handful of meat a week. It is crazy. This why you will never, ever see us supporting Driscolls, Del Cabo, or any other product coming across the border. If the strawberries can pass the border freely to be sold for big money at Costco, why can’t the laborer cross the border to earn enough money to eat. I would welcome the farm workers Braseros program of the 50’s again, where crews of workers and harvesters were welcomed into the United States farms to work and earn US dollars, and then were supported in returning to their families in the off-seasons. That was awesome, but the situation is devastating right now.
4. Re-use and Recycling: Ok, so this can get me in trouble. But I really don’t care. We re-use our delivery boxes over and over again. We aren’t supposed to, but that is ridiculous. We do and we will continue to, because it is the right thing to do. So please don’t ever throw one of our boxes into the recycling unless you let something mould in it, and then please do. That’s gross, we don’t re-use those boxes. This brings us to recycling, and this is where the big Venture money should be going if they truly want to save the world. Recycling in the U.S. is horrible. A huge amount of our plastics our landfilled, retail food is landfilled, and with the influx of shipping boxes our cardboard recyclers are not able to keep up with materials. An unverified report from our box manufacturer Calpine, says that there are shipping warehouses overloaded with recyclable cardboard with nowhere to recycle them since our recycling partner, China, has become unfriendly with us over trade tariff talks. Needless to say, this is a problem, and this is why we cringe over all of the “subscription meal to your door” and “subscription this to your door” programs that use shipping companies. They have no way to get the boxes back for re-use. So, please help us to re-use our boxes.
5. Imperfect Veggies and Small Farm Waste: If you’re an organic farmer’s market or CSA veteran you already understand that we were imperfect produce before they were ever an idea. It has never been about growing cosmetically perfect food for the true organic growers. That’s a pesticide companies idea and a non-farming educated consumers demand. It’s always been about growing the most nutritious food possible while taking care of our land. We are proud of our twisty carrots, and view insect bites as par for the course. The only things we throw out are things that are literally molding and spoiled. This is the thing with small farms. We function locally and in a scale that is manageable. And if we do throw something out, it means it was not edible. If it was edible it was sold or donated to the food bank, veggie rescue, or a gleaner.
6. Imperfect Veggies and The Supermarket Shipping Farms: Shipping farms are big, and they have recently started transitioning into organics, as demand has increased for Organics in the last ten years. These were traditionally conventional growers who relied heavily on pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Needless to say, most are not the best land stewards and they are bound by tough supermarket constraints. If crops are not larger enough, green enough, clean enough they don’t dare pick and ship them. The super market companies will recieve them, deny them, dump them in the trash and pay the farmer nothing. Super markets are so tough. We once had too many green beans for thanksgiving. We sent them with a shipper who sent them to the east coast on the slow road. When they got there, they were moldy, refused, and we got paid nothing. It was brutal and I believe the moment that, Farmer Tom Shepherd decided to get smaller again.
So, we have a situation where supermarket produce requirements will refuse 20-40% of what has been grown for them, and then it gets worse. They will deem another 30-50% of what they have approved and recieved bad after it has reached their floor and spent too much time on display. On the farm end, the big shipper farmers now have a partner to work with that they can sell some of their off-sized items to with Imperfect Produce. Which is really cool for people that would want to eat super market produce. But it doesn’t tackle the real problem as I see it, which is the waste in the market and the waste in the consumers home. Because, while it is great that the big farms can make some money for the items that they would have potentially tilled back into the soil to feed the micro-biology and build some humus for future crops it is only a more money thing, not a more life, or more future thing as it is being pitched..
The real problem is really in the later stage users. The ones who throw directly to the landfill. And unfortunately, as someone who works deeply in Agriculture, I feel that Imperfect produce is being seriously unintegral by saying that they are saving food waste from the landfill. This is simply not true. Farmers do not landfill their crops. Even the grossest big ag growers would never do that. Why would you ever pay to send something to landfill that could be buried in your fields and act to help fertilize your future crops. Even at the next stages, with sorting and packing houses: these guys are still close to the farm, in farm communities, and surrounded by agriculturists looking for compost ingredients and livestock feed. Everything would be re-utilized.
The hideous problem of food waste in our landfills, creating gross sums of methane gas and greenhouse destructive agents really starts at the Super Market, extends thru our Restaurants, School Cafeterias, Hospitals, and ends in our homes. We are the end users. We are the people disconnected from agriculture. And we are the only people that would think that food waste should be sent to the landfill.
So, what to do? First of all, you are supporting the best agriculture happening right now. And we will always make sure of that for you. Beyond that, eat what you buy, put our box on hold when you’re not geting thru it, and make sure that nothing dies in vain for your plate. And prioritize composting and sorting your trash correctly. We will have some good news for you about composting with us in the next few months as we open our new farm in Carpinteria. So stay tuned.
Jason the boss man.