A Fresh Look at Organic with High Desert Farmers Markets

There is confusion about organic these days, which does not necessarily mean no chemicals or toxins. It would be impossible to grow great amounts of food without some form of pest and disease control. A material list of allow- able organics is published on the USDA website. Pay attention to Category IV allowable materials – compounds con- sidered by the USDA/FDA to be least harmful. Food produced with these materials, are considered safe. Farms can register for a fee, and certify they use those items in farming practices along with soil and water testing. Many large corporations have done this since using the term “organic” comes brings huge financial rewards.

The USDA Organic label just means a farm uses 80% organic materials. To get this prestigious title it is only necessary to fill out an application, provide their own soil and water samples, and send them off to Sacramento for approval! No inspector visits their farms to verify this information.

There are reputable organic farms out there. To be verified by anc carry the California Certified Organic Farm- ers (CCOF) label there rigid requirements, with specific, allowable materials for a farm’s Integrated Pest Management programs. A healthy fee is charged for the group to inspect, man- age and oversee these farms. The pr cess can also be very timely, but con-umers looking for truly organic food look for and respect the CCOF label on packaging and produce.

“Educating the public on sustainable food and related subjects is an on- going process and desired goal” says Kerri Santoro of the High Desert Farmer’s Markets. “There are so many factors that effect our future health, and we are passionate about giving customers the facts to decide what’s best for their families. Coming and experiencing the market is a great place to start.”

High Desert Certified Farmers Markets promote and support local businesses, bring neighbors together and share resources. They bring an increase in local social capital, food-related community education, commerce and creativity. Local farmers, food vendors and vendors of all kinds serve up quality, freshness, fun and entertainment for the whole family. Experience it…it’s all here for you! HDFM staff will show you around. Have a great time tasting!

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