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Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

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September 15, 2011

Strawberry Fields ~Organic and Conventional

To conclude my Farm Fresh Tour with Know a California Farmer we toured Naturipe Farms, a strawberry farm in Watsonville, CA.  They grow conventional and organic strawberries and if you are a lover of strawberries, you've probably eaten theirs at some point in your life.

Tom, from Naturipe explains that a lot goes into growing berries and that the perfect soil conditions play a big part in the success of growing them.  We learned the compost used to fertilize the soil is based from fish meal and once this was heard, conversation ensued mentioning that our vegan friends may not enjoy learning this tidbit of information.

We learned that along with state inspections, which are conducted regularly, big box stores, such as CostCo can and do  pop in inspections at any time they please to inspect the farm as well, making sure it meets their standards. 

Naturipe also grows berries in Mexico and all packaging must be labeled showing where the product is grown.  Tom told us that Naturipe abides by the same farming standards and practices no matter what country or state the berries are grown in. 

A very interesting fact that I learned was that organic strawberries does not necessarily mean no pesticides.  Organic berries are sprayed with pesticides that are certified organic and many times are the very same pesticides used on the conventional crops.   But the fact I found most interesting was, after a recent study, it was found that 95% of the conventional strawberries tested for pesticides had no pesticide residue before washing.  The pesticides dissipate within days and a 30 second rinsing with room temp tap water will rid any pesticides from the berries if there is a residue. 

I support both organic and conventional farming and hearing this bit of information from Tom was good to hear because I normally buy conventional berries and just rinse them before eating.

After the tour in the strawberry fields, we were brought back to the packing plant and chill box.

This is where quality assurance takes place.

Strawberries are inspected before they are shipped out.

The forklifts used in the chill box are all electrically powered to keep exhaust from reaching the strawberries.  The chill box is kept at 33 -34 degrees, it didn't take me long to find my way back out before I became chilled.

I'm so glad we have the choice to purchase either organic or conventional here in the U.S.  Are you a strawberry lover?  If so, do you purchase organic or conventional??

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment, I love to hear from you! Have a fantastic day!

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