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Oh.My.God. We went to Costco last week and bought a similar bag of beans, as well as a big box of organic beef. To say I was skeptical is an understatement. Knowing how hard it is to maintain organic principles, and to see such a humongoid-on-steroids freezer case of giant bags of stuff labeled "organic," I wasn't fooled. But I admit I bought it anyway. Shame on me, really. But today I am freezing and pickling and canning from my own garden. And I'm terribly disappointed in the size of my harvest this year -- it's been a tough year for the garden up here, and I definitely could not feed us for the winter on it. It's a dilemma, really.


Another fine example of manipulative marketing. Drives me batty. I too try to purchase my food from local, organic farmers as much as I can.


Wow. That's about the worst juxtaposition I've ever seen. Amazing what you find out when you read the fine print. :-\


All I was thinking at the "Woodstock" part was "geriatric hippies turned into The Man trying to bank on their reputation and make a ginormous profit."

Us 20-somethings are cynical like that.


A while back my local food co-op had a distributor special on Woodstock organic butter. I liked it but knew it was a one-time deal, so I asked if I could order a case. The co-op manager emailed me the following report from the Cornucopia Institute in Wisconsin: "Based on interviews with industry sources it appears that when UNFI introduced their Woodstock Milk and Dairy products, milk was exclusively supplied by the CROPP/Organic Valley cooperative. Since then, we understand that CROPP supplies a minority of their milk with the primary supply now coming from Aurora Organic Dairy, the large factory-farm operator based in Colorado...." She added: "Aurora Dairy, a HUGE operation, has been the subject of a number of unsettling reports regarding the 'stretching' of the rules of organic certification and the target of a number of animal rights boycotts and actions." Moreover, Aurora Dairy, I've been told, is the primary supplier for Horizon Organic, which is now owned by Dean Foods. Keeping track of what is truly the least harmful to the Earth is very difficult.


Organic-schmanic. The more unnatural stuff I eat, the better my corpse will be preserved, thereby helping alien scientists and archaeologists discover why our "civilization" died. (I was going to say "why our planet died" but then I realized that we're not killing the rock we're living on, we're making it kill us.)


yes. and we have many Cascadian Farms products out here that are labelled "Northwest produced" at the co-op but the veggies inside come from that same farm in China. The same co-op has pulled Horizon organic dairy (mentioned by another commenter) so I'm thinking of asking them to pull the signs.

It's sad to think of no salad in the winter time but it's just so weird to think of the guy driving a diesel truck, 5-6 miles/gallon, 1,000 miles one way, from Arkansa to California with chickens and back with produce every week. I heard that story on NPR (about fuel costs), and it reinforced a statement I heard on a PBS show (about California, this episode about organic farming) the statement that "food energy is 9 parts oil, 1 part calories."


also: big companies/farms are generally the only ones who can afford to pay the very high USDA fees to get the organic labels. Much of this is screwing over the local, small farms (plus, as you note, the whole 'product of China' thing). Local, my toosh.

My CSA farmer actually wrote an article explaining why he does not bother getting USDA certs ( ).

It's all quite frustrating, you know?! :)


There was a big article in our paper earlier this year talking about organic not necessarily equating with environmentally responsible. I can buy local produce at my farmer's market which cuts down on fuel transport costs, etc as well as keeping monies in the hands of the people near me. However, it's rarely organic. The bulk of the organic stuff comes from other states which means higher fuel costs. Which one is better? It's a good question.


Hunh. Maybe just the plastic bag was made in China? I am the eternal optimist.


Trust no one who wants your dollar.


Its in the papers how sales have risen 30% in the UK this year... but if you buy organic from a Brit supermarket, then you'll probably be buying food with LOADS of foodmiles.

we get our fruit & veg from a local organic co=op. they deliver a box of it every week. You don't get much control over what it is, you just get what the farmers grow. But it means its fresh, organic, local, seasonal and really good value.


Organic's come a long way, baby. I just wish it would go back... :)


not to mention that they are clearly saying all over the labels that the beans are FRENCH! c'mon, either thay ARE or they are not—which is it?


I think it would be worth it to contact Woodstock farms and confront them about the irony inherent in those beans. I'm a huge proponent of local food, but I also have concerns about petrochemicals and sewer sludge used in non-organic production, so I still buy organic sometimes when it's not local. I think I have to be more aware about distance... In a a way, I almost look forward to Peak Oil--when we can finally consider real alternatives to our petroleum dependence.

Wendy M.

I've had a similar dilemma in my local grocery store. The only organic produce comes individually shrink wrapped, often also sitting on a styrofoam tray. What gives?

Diane E.

You'd be surprised at how much of our chicken in U.S. grocers now comes from China.


I'm so glad you posted this. We get our produce from a local CSA or a local farmers market. I think the big push right now is not only organic, but local. It's nice to know the person who is growing your food.


It is a sad state that organic has come to, but look at how many people understand the difference? A few years ago nobody talked about the importance of buying local.

I recently heard that we now have more people in prison in the US than we have full-time farmers. Scary where "we" are putting our priorities.


Organic isn't about saving the planet, it's about saving yourself.

Local is about saving the planet, saving yourself, and saving everyone else.

For every dollar you spend at a local based store 9/10 of it goes back into your community. That number goes down to like 3/5 if you shop at a chain.

For me a lot of it is about how you want to live; do you want to participate in your food or is it just another thing you consume? What do you want your community to look like?

If you really care, don't buy local when the stuff you are buying doesn't belong where it is. I mean like really doesn't belong. Like if you live in the desert, don't buy local produce.

I'm done preaching to the choir now. Good luck with your beans - that's depressing.


Even American organic farms (like those that supply mega Wal-Marts are technically organic but are still practicing monoculture farming and big business strategies. Buy local.

I am not a vegetarian and I was speaking to someone about how my husband and I intend to raise some meat animals now that we have property and a big barn, but I am struggling with having my own animal slaughtered, after giving it a lovely, free-range, pastured, healthy, kind life.

She told me to read the Omnivore's Dilemma and I would never buy packaged meat again.

I'm afraid to read it.


The Omnivore's Dilemma is an awesome book - truthfully, it's Fast Food Nation that would make someone swear off meat. Honestly, not to be a polyanna, but I think that "certified" address is for the association that sets the standards, not the bean company - as someone who used to work for an association, I can see how that would be plausible. I have no idea what to make of Made in China, but I know the beans wouldn't survive the trip.


Living in the Middle of Nowhere, NY I have a very different problem. Our one and only local grocery store sells NO organic produce. We do have a lot of farm stands to choose from (about 4 within 5 miles), but they aren't labeled organic either. And we have discovered that some of the farm stands actually bring in produce from pretty long distances. Our tactic has been to buy from the least fancy farm stands. At least it's local. But I don't know what we are going to do in the winter.


I have been buying more and more local produce. Luckily there's a farm stand right on our way home. I always ask where things come from -- they are smart enough to label most things "our own" or "locally grown." And I'm trying now not to buy anything that comes from halfway across the world, like raspberries from Chile in January, no matter how good they look. And we don't eat beef.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with how little one person can do, but I keep working on it anyway.


It just makes me nutty that my kids organic yogurt comes in containers that are a 5 in the recycling scale. Hello? Don't most places only offer recycling for 1's & 2's? Grrr. I could go on and on...Did you know that Seeds of Change food is owned by the Mars Corp? Yep, same folks that make Mars Bars. If you haven't already, check out Seed Savers Exchange and Slow Food USA. Both Brilliant.

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