Q&A: Organic PYO Apples in Western MA

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Philip Korman writes, “For a listing of PYO where the farmer is encouraged to post growing practices: www.buylocalfood.org.”

Wanted: Organic PYO apples! Pilar Goldstein-Dea of Easthampton writes, “We’re wondering where we might pick organic apples locally. Where’s your favorite organic pick-your-own orchard?”

  • Erin Brainard writes, “Outlook Farm (Route 66, Westhampton). Can’t wait, the kids love it.”
  • Chip Konowitz writes, “Bear Swamp Orchard in Ashfield.”
  • Marissa Tenenbaum Potter writes, “Apex in Shelburne.”
  • Annie Bob DeCoteau writes, “If you don’t mind the pretty drive- Dwight Miller in Dummerston, VT or Green Mountain in Putney.”
  • Tish Serrani writes, “Outlook is not organic but they are a great local farm.”
  • Amy Wasserman writes, “There are no organic orchards in MA, unfortunately. But I know there are trees at the Yiddish Book Center and also at Eric Carle Museum, and I don’t think they are sprayed with anything. The surrounding grass might have chemicals. If you are REALLY concerned, call Hampshire College grounds dept. Many local orchards are IPM – you have to ask the farmers. Apex is low spray/IPM with great apples that we buy at Amherst Wednesday and Winter Markets…not sure if they are PYO but I know they are in the Shelburne area.”
  • Jenny Underdown writes, “There is an organic orchard in Ashfield: Bear Swamp Orchard…Just went there last weekend. Great place. Cider too!”
  • Maribeth Blankenburg Ritchie writes, “There is a certified organic pick your own in Ashfield on Hawley Rd. Bear Swamp Orchards, they make great cider.”
  • Chris Sanborn writes, “Apex is not organic. Dwight Miller in VT and Bear Swamp are the closest ones I know of that are open to the public. IPM constitutes most orchards in MA.”
  • Jaimee Roncone writes, “Bear Swamp, Ashfield.”
  • Jennifer ‘kippy’ York  writes, “Sentinel Farm on Cottage St. in Belchertown!”
  • Cheryl Svoboda Asher writes, “My 2 year old granddaughter went to Outlook last weekend and had the time of her life. She and my daughter picked 75 apples for about $20. I too, have always thought Outlook as an organic farm They are located in Westhampton for those that do not know. They will being gong again this time with me! Fun activity no matter where you go and we scrub the apples to be doubly sure.”
  • Jose Santiago writes, “Outlook Farm. We went last Saturday. $25 for a bag.”
  • Belle Rita Novak writes, “An orchardist from New Hampshire once told me that it is very difficult to grow organic apples; not impossible, but difficult. Don’t expect them to look pretty.”
  • April Pitroff Varellas writes, “Bear Swamp Orchard, Ashfield.”
  • Pilar Goldstein-Dea writes, “Hurrah! Thank You!”

Organic vs. Natural

Organic vs. Natural: Don’t Let Your Family Be Fooled

Organic Consumers Association writes:

The “natural” food phenomenon worries many in the organic industry. So-called “natural” products aren’t regulated and don’t have to meet any special standards, so they can be marketed more cheaply than genuine certified organic food. Many formerly organic brands are trying to fool consumers into thinking natural and organic are the same.

Early this year, for instance, WhiteWave Foods added “natural” Silk soy milk to its line of organic products. This summer, WhiteWave (a unit of Dean Foods) broadened its Horizon line of organic products with its first “natural” offering: Little Blends, a yogurt for toddlers. In August, it began test-marketing Milk Breakers, a six-ounce single serving of “natural” milk with added protein.

This year, for the first time since at least 2004, sales of “natural” foods and beverages will likely grow at a faster rate than sales of organic foods, according to Nutrition Business Journal.

The organic industry is fighting back. In September, Organic Valley will debut an online calculator that lets consumers see how many chemicals they avoid by using organic milk.

“We’re holding on when some other sectors are sinking,” says Theresa Marquez, chief marketing executive for Organic Valley. “Our future is organic.”

Read more HERE.

Food, Inc.: Special Benefit Screening in Amherst for CISA

Food, Inc.: Discover What “Big Agriculture” Doesn’t Want Farmers to Tell You

Tomorrow, Monday June 29, at 7:00pm at the Amherst Cinema there will be a special screening of Food, Inc. to benefit Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), followed by a discussion panel.

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults. Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising and often shocking truths about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here. (Director Robert Kenner. 94 mins, Rated PG)

Opens June 26, 2009 at Amherst Cinema in Amherst, MA.  Showtimes: Friday 6/26 through Thursday 7/2 – 2:15pm, 4:15pm, 7:00pm, 9:15pm.  Plus Saturday 6/27 and Sunday 6/28 – 11:45am. NOTE: Monday 6/29 9:15pm show moves to 9:45pm. Baby-friendly Show Tuesday 6/30 2:15pm

REVIEW BY VARIETY: With a constituency limited to anyone who eats, “Food, Inc.” is a civilized horror movie for the socially conscious, the nutritionally curious and the hungry. Yes, it has a deceptively cheery palette, but helmer Robert Kenner’s doc — which does for the supermarket what “Jaws” did for the beach — marches straight into the dark side of cutthroat agri-business, corporatized meat and the greedy manipulation of both genetics and the law. Doc biz may be in the doldrums, but “Food, Inc.” is so aesthetically polished and politically urgent, theatrical play seems a no-brainer, though it won’t do much for popcorn sales.  Read the rest of this entry »

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