SMIT ORCHARDS IS ORGANIC
It’s true! We have 59 acres of certified organic fruit that we grow. We started with 7 acres of grapes about 8 years ago and we have not looked back. We’ve always been on the verge of organic and now we’ve finally stepped up to the challenge completely. We’ve adapted a wide variety of techniques to keep your fruit at the highest quality without sacrificing any flavor or compromising your health. Fruit should be healthy, not a source of concern. That’s what we believe and we’ve worked very hard to bring you fruit you can count on to keep you and your loved ones healthy and happy. Our apples, grapes, and cherries are already fully certified organic under the CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmer). We invite you to take the journey with us and start participating in a life of health and fulfillment.
HOW DO YOU DO IT?
Smit Orchards is a small, family run farm that is cared for by the people who own it and depend on it. Therefore, the Smits have a vested interest in producing the highest quality yield possible in order to satisfy and preserve their customer base while at the same time thinking of the future of the land. As the large-scale farms deplete the topsoil, fill the land with pesticides and chemicals, and pump out mediocre produce, The Smits are working hard to plant complimentary crops that replenish the soil, adapting new pest control techniques that don’t require chemicals, and growing some of the best fruit in California. With nearly 40 acres of organically grown produce certified and in transition, we are one of the bigger organic farms around, but still nowhere near the size of a large commercial farm. Our small size allows us to give the attention and thought required to run a self-renewing farm that will not hurt the environment in the long run.
NO REALLY, HOW DO YOU DO IT?
First and foremost, we use 100% natural well water to make sure our crops get the purest hydration possible. To control pests there are a ton of alternatives to pesticide. We utilize pheromone traps (an I.P.M. technique) that attract certain moths as well as noise emitters that discourage other insects from lingering. Owl boxes and Eucalyptus trees attract owls that hunt the rodents that can damage tree roots and we hang strips of foil in our trees to reflect the bright sunlight and keep away birds that may feast on our fruit during the day. For now, a weed-eater and our bare hands are all we have to protect us from the weeds, but we are looking into a cutting edge technique that uses hot foam to scald the weeds at their roots without damaging the trees. And for fertilizer we use a combination of plants that replenish the soil and an organic sea kelp solution that provides the plants with nutrients. All it takes is a little creativity and a lot of dedication and you can grow anything organically. After all, everything used to be organic!
What is an I.P.M.?
I.P.M. stands for integrated pest management. These are techniques that have been developed recently and continue to be developed that seek to control pests in agriculture while preserving human health, sparing untargeted organisms, and leaving the environment unharmed as well. Methods such as pheromone traps and insect warfare have proven effective in replacing traditional pesticides and many of the new strategies are showing miraculous results. Some farms have shown an overall reduction of pesticide use by 72%. This is good news for organic farms as well as conventional farms, because now the loss of crops suffered by the organic farmer who was relatively unprotected from pests, will be able to defend his crops while still maintaining the quality and organic status of the produce. We have already adopted some of the newly developed techniques and it is making our transition into organic farming smoother and more productive than we could have imagined.
HOW DID YOU GET CERTIFIED AND WHY SHOULD WE TRUST IT?
The California Certified Organic Farmers, or CCOF, certified us. They are the premier organization for organic certification and have been doing it longer than any other group. Certification is an application process that is then followed up by ongoing onsite inspections by people who are trained to determine whether or not a farm is practicing organic farming. They go to the farm so you don’t have to. Their logo gives you the assurance you require that the produce you are purchasing was indeed grown in a manner that accords to the standards of organics. Briefly, that means that no genetic engineering or irradiation was used, no sewage was used for fertilizer and there were no growth hormones or antibiotics given to organic livestock. Also, only natural substances, no man made chemicals, were applied at any time during or after growth. ` There are a slew of other details, but these are the major points.
ARE THERE ANY HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING ORGANIC FOODS?
Honestly, I think that the question is a little misdirected. It isn’t that there are benefits of eating organic food, it’s that there are risks involved with inorganic food. Organic produce is just natural produce that hasn’t been altered. It isn’t some sort of super food. The nutritional content of organic and inorganic produce should be similar, although the levels in the organic produce may be higher because processes such as irradiation and improper soil replenishment tend to drain the produce of its nutrients. On top of a diminished nutritive value, inorganic produce often has traces of chemicals that are poisonous in larger doses and may build up in our systems over time. The pesticides and herbicides that we use to kill weeds and insects may end up harming us as well. So the real reason to eat organic is that it is pure, not that it is enhanced and improved. Eat the way nature intended.
Is there any difference between apple cider and apple juice?
Yes, there is a slight difference, but not much of one. Apple cider is typically not filtered, unpasteurized and cloudy in appearance. Many ciders are just pressed apples and have no preservatives so they must be consumed quickly or frozen. Apple juice is almost always filtered to remove any pulp and is usually pasteurized and preserved. But technically, if you pressed a bunch of apples and didn’t alter the juice in any way, you could call it juice or cider.