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Sep 11, 2005

Which "Organic"?

Many times, customers ask us: "There's a lot of local brands of organic vegetables, fruits and meats now in the organic shops.  Which can we buy with confidence?".

This is our answer:

1 Use your common sense.  Many of us "automatically" drop our common sense defense just because a shop is called "organic".  Remember, the majority of organic shops are retailers and traders, not farmers. Some may not have the time, staff or expertise to check out the farming practices of the various brands.  You must arm yourself with knowledge and use your common sense to make your own buying decisions. 
2. Trust produce that come directly from farmers.  Some of the brands or labels you find in the stores are from marketing companies which organise contract farmers.  Produce from contract farmers should ideally be certified.
3. Buy local.  You not only help reduce the use of fossil fuel, but you are assured of fresher produce.  Fruits are more likely to be tree-ripened, meats are fresh rather than days or weeks old.  Remember, "organic" does not ensure tree-ripened fruits or fresh meats. If you are living in the Klang Valley, buying local means selecting as first preference produce from farms near to the Klang Valley, only after that from up North or South.  For produce from overseas, select those from Australia and New Zealand over those from US, and so on.
4. Are visitors allowed to the farm?  Vegetables and fruit farms have no excuse not to allow visitors or at least allow your "representatives" such as journalists, owners of organic shops, etc. Be sceptical, there may be "show" farms.  These visits should be documented.  Animal farms should have visitor days for journalists and other stakeholders such as owners of organic shops.  Be wary of produce from farms or farmers which locations are unknown and with no means of contacting them. The farming practices should be clearly spelt out.  Remember, "organic" as understood by some farmers in Malaysia may not coincide with what you understand to be "organic" as practiced in the West.
5. Is the farmer known?  Buying "organic" should be a personal relationship.  You must TRUST this farmer who is growing your food for you and for your family.  Is he known? What is his farming philosophy?  Can you trust him?  Ask your organic shop owner who the farmer is and whether you can meet the farmer.  Remember, he is producing for you the single most important thing in the life of your family and you - your food.  What can be more important than that?  It is worth the time and effort to check him out.  Do not leave this responsibility to others.  You must take that responsibility as the health and wellbeing of your family may depend on it. 
6. Pay for Quality Quality do not come cheap.  Trust your instincts and back them up with knowledge.  Know the general prices for a particular item, both organic and non organic, both local and imported. Find out why a certain brand is more expensive than others, or cheaper.  
7. Talks  We at DQ are willing to meet up with our buyers, individually by coming to our office, or in groups as arranged through the shops or retailers or stockists concerned, or even yourselves as consumers.  For groups, we will give a slide presentation and a talk about our farming practices including Qi Farming, and healthy food in general.

02:30 Posted in Chickens | Permalink | Comments (0)

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