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USDA Organic Medjool DatesAround the world there is much interest in organic farming practices – especially in recent years as the manipulation of seed crops by corporations like Monsanto has come to light. Of course, there is a big difference between organic farming and genetically modified crops, but the two methodologies do coincide. Certified organic is another buzz phrase, but this refers to the legislation put in place to assure the public that what they are buying is exactly as represented. We buy certified organic foods knowing that the producers have followed very stringent practices and are held to a higher standard than conventionally farmed properties. Whether you choose to purchase certified organic or not is entirely up to you, but in our opinion, the future of our planet depends on us embracing these ideals so that the land can keep on nourishing us, our children and our animals for generations to come.

What is organic farming?

To farm organically means that you do not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides in the production of your crops, and there are no GMO seeds used either in the growing of organic crops or in the feeding of organically raised animals. While the methods we use to farm organically are much more labor-intensive than conventional practices, we choose to farm this way because it is better for the soil, the environment in general, and healthier for us to consume.

Now, there is no requirement that the organic crops produced need to be ‘certified’ organic. This is another level of organic farming altogether, and highly regulated on many levels. As organic farmers, we can produce crops for food, feed or fiber, raise livestock, grow crops that are intended to be processed, or cultivate wild crops, but to label the items we produce as ‘organic’ we must become certified. When you purchase a product that is labeled ‘certified organic’, you are guaranteed a certain standard of quality.

Why buying organic costs more

You might also notice that organic products cost a little bit more, and there is good reason for that. For a farm to be certified organic, it must be free of all chemical treatment for a minimum of three years. This is called the ‘transition phase’ and is mandatory for all farms looking to become certified. During this time, the farm can produce crops, but cannot label them ‘organic’ or use the USDA certified organic seal. At various phases in the transition period, there will be inspections, and certain compliances must be met. There is an application fee, an assessment fee, a renewal fee, and each inspection comes with a price tag as well. Once the certification is granted, the farm is inspected yearly in order to maintain their status. All in all, it’s a dedication of time, resources and a commitment to working that extra bit harder to ensure these standards are met.

Why farm organic?

Some people might wonder why a farmer would choose not to farm organically if given the choice. The fact is, farming is hard work, and farming organically is often much, much harder. In some regions, organic farming is next to impossible due in large part to climactic conditions. For instance, in very hot, humid areas there is a tendency towards mold and rot, and this often comes with its fair share of extra pests as well. If you are farming organically, many of the conventional pesticide or fungicide sprays are prohibited, and so much of the crop would be lost. Sprays that are permitted are often quite expensive and when farming a large property this can drive up costs considerably. So cost is the first issue, and labor a close second. For if you can’t spray, you’ve got to find some way to combat the problems, and this often entails hands-on solutions such as removing bugs from the plants by hand, or spraying each plant individually with water.

But what it all boils down to – the real reason we choose to farm organically is that it is better for the future of people, animals and the environment. In our opinion, there is really no other way to do things. We buy organic, we live an organic lifestyle, and we are committed to organic farming as a way to sustain the health and abundance of our planet.

A word about GMO’s

As organic farmers, we are not allowed to use any genetically modified seed or feed – even having close proximity to GMO crops would disqualify our organic status. GMO’s have been linked to several different types of cancer and many other diseases or disorders. The truth is, we don’t really know how much damage GMO’s have already caused for future generations, but we do know that it is possible to affect change going forward. In the name of feeding more people, reducing dependence on pesticides and increasing yields, companies like Monsanto have come up with GMO seed crops that are destroying the soil, wiping out entire populations of insects, birds and quite likely, people in the end. Their core reasons seem altruistic enough, but what we know now is that instead of feeding us, it’s killing us. For the sake of the future of the planet, its ecosystem and of the entire human race, we need to get back to basics. So next time you shop, consider that you have options. It’s not like it was twenty years ago when there wasn’t a good selection of organic goods available to buy – they are widely available everywhere. If you care about your body, your children, their future and the future of generations yet to come, buy organic. It may cost a little more, but isn’t it worth it?

Organic, Naked, Delicious!

Naked Dates was founded on organic principles. We’re a family-run operation growing delicious certified organic Medjool dates in Wellton, Arizona. We would love for you to try our dates and date products, and discover the difference organic quality makes. A lot of love goes into what we do, and we think you can taste it in every bite. We call them ‘naked’ because they are always ‘au natural’: free from additives, preservatives or flavorings, they are naturally delicious and wholesomely nutritious too! Order today for fast home delivery, or drop us a line to find out more. If you’re in the Yuma area, we’d love to meet you in person – all the better to introduce you to our one-of-a-kind organic date products like date soap, date soda, and even date beer. Check out our products page, or visit our recipes page for great ideas on how to use dates in your everyday meals. Until then – live organically! See you on the farm!