HOW WE WORK WITH OUR GROWERS
We try to buy from local growers as much as possible - with local meaning:
growers we know, have visited on their farm and on the whole know how they
grow their produce (i.e. chemical-free, bio-dynamic, permaculture (meaning
no chemicals, no manufactured fertilisers), using organic principles, in
organic conversion or certified organic. There may also be some conventional produce when these are not available. We will not list these separately on produce as we may have a mix of suppliers over a day/week and doing so will increase the price of the produce having to pay an administrator to change item descriptions.
The bulk of these growers are in the Sydney Basin
* Horsley Park * Quakers Hill * Camden * Rossmore * Leppington * Wallacia *Kemps Creek
Fringe in areas like * Maroota * Dural* Hawkesbury * Oberon and * Orange.
We also have an increasing number of growers on the Central and Mid-North Coast.
On average, we source around 70-80% of our produce from these local growers
during the growing season, dropping to 50-60% during the winter months.
Where we source produce from interstate and we don't know from which farms
it comes, we assume that the produce was grown conventional - i.e. some
chemicals may have been used to control pests, weeds and fungus.
The few items from overseas, mostly as not available in Australia, we search for the same chemical free approach but we cannot guarantee it for anyone with sensitivities due to border inspections as they fumigate including organic produce imported - this renders it non organic strictly speaking.
The only two items we have are from New Zealand kiwi when it is seasonally not available in Australia and garlic when local is not available typically after March there is Giant Russian but this is actually a leek so we purchase from Mexican or Spanish.
With groceries we do not nominate they are all Australian. Pine Nuts do not grow in Australia and cashews also, very limited small growers, who don’t have a large commercial sale exposure so again from overseas but roasted and packed locally. The nuts , roasted and packed locally, is what we promote.
Some nuts are grown in Australia but the drought has decimated these crops. In a good year almost half of ‘peanuts’ are grown in Australia but right now this is down to around 10%. Cashews there are almost no commercial quantities grown.
Many of the items, like dates, are also overseas grown as not available in Australia.
REASONS WE DON’T ALWAYS BUY CERTIFIED
In the future we may look at working with Certified Organic and we will address the transparency of the Certifications and publish these.
Some of the reasons why we don't always buy from certified organic farms
* Where organic farms practice mono-culture, which - even though the crop is
treated with organic versions of herbicides and pesticides - still depletes
the soil of essential nutrients which can only be replaced using organic
fertilisers. Crop diversity (and not simply crop rotation) is a better way
of managing soil health than just abstaining from synthetic chemicals.
* Sometimes the organic herbicides and pesticides are not much better than
the synthetic versions, and using no sprays at all would be even better.
This can be achieved on many different crops and different environments.
* Some organic certifiers still allow for some synthetic chemicals to be
used in some circumstances.
* We regularly come across organic farmers who have not been audited for a number of years, which makes certification a little less than useful.
* The premium charged for organic produce often bears little relationship to
the benefit, and can result in a premium as high as 400-500% (i.e. you'd pay
4 to 5 times as much as you would for non-certified produce).
* Chemical use for a number of fruits and vegetables is low or
non-consistent (i.e. they are not usually attacked by bugs, and weeds do not
pose any problems). Examples are: carrots. sweet potatoes, cauliflower,
cabbages, watermelon, rockmelon, avocadoes, grapefruit, kiwi, etc. Buying
organic versions of these will cost you more money without any health
STICKERS ON APPLES
Part of the changing industry practice, whether organic or not, is adding little stickers to apples which is done by all but the smallest growers as grocers and supermarkets demand this for processing through the cash register. We don't like it but we cannot always get non stickered apples.