Organic or All Natural? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I planted an abundance of tomato plants this year in hopes of selling some of the extra tomatoes. I figured that I would just put an ad in the paper for canning tomatoes. Now the question is since I am not "certified" organic can I advertise them as organic, which they are. Or do I need to call them All natural or some other marketing term? Thanks, Tami in WI

-- Tami Bowser (, July 06, 2000


Hi Tami,

The WI. Dept. of Agriculture should have a website that would have that information for you. ( Wi Dept of ) ?

In my state, I can call my produce anything I want except certified unless I have it certified by the "organic board." I chose not to be certified as I am not into red tape and more record keeping then I have to do. The drawback is that people have to take my word for it that it is organically grown. My word is fine for my neighbors, but tourists want the state label.

-- Laura (, July 06, 2000.

We cannot call our pastured poultry organic. We call them natural and that seems to be enough for everybody:0)

-- Abigail F. (, July 06, 2000.

What about "Raised under organic conditions"?

-- Ken Scharabok (, July 06, 2000.

I've been wondering about similar things lately. I know there's been some movement afoot to get the feds involved in the "organic" labeling and that there are several certifying agencies out there but has anything actually been passed on the federal level to require certification for "organic"? The big corps. have been working to water down the definition of organic because they see it as a threat to their "better living through chemistry" products.

Unless your state has some specific prohibition against labeling produce as organic without certification is there any reason why you can't?

-- john leake (, July 06, 2000.

Tami, how about "homegrown organic"

-- Rachel (, July 06, 2000.

Hi Tami, I'm also growing alot of extra tomatoes to sell this year. If you go to this website, there are quite of few threads discussing "certified organic". It seems it varies from state to state, but there are monetary fines if you call your produce "certified organinc" and it's not. Depends on if you get caught I guess. I would go with the rest of what everyone else said, and call your tomatoes something else, like naturally grown etc.. You might want to take a few minutes and read the threads. Was an eye opener for me.

-- Annie (, July 06, 2000.

I wrote to our county extension office at Kansas State Univ. last year with the exact same question. His response was,

"As far as selling direct to the public at the farm or in a farmers market, there is no requirement that you must be certified. As a vegatable producer it would probably be wise to not claim products as organic unless they are grown under the same conditions as certified organic production. This requires no uses of chemical fertilizers or pest control measures for a period of 3 prior years on any land growing vegetables. There are some naturally occurring materials that may be used for pest control measures."

This was a year ago in May. Some organic measures have passed in the meantime (I think) so it would be best to check with your county ext. office.

-- Vaughn (, July 06, 2000.

We sell produce at markets around Madison and to local restaraunts in our area. We are not certified organic because no one, except the certifying agents themselves main reason for existance is to make money certifying, can agree on what standards to use. What may be acceptable on your certified farm may not be on mine because we use two different agencies. We talk to people and explain our growing methods, organic as we see them, and have had good acceptance. Provide a wholesome product at a fair price and communicate effectively with your customers and you should have no problem selling.

-- ray s. (, July 07, 2000.

Was just into the USDA this fall, and in KS it is illegal to sell produce labeled "Organic" without the certification level. However, the guy I was discussing this with told me he was raising what most of us refer to as "organic" cattle and chickens. He disagrees with the guidelines for organic, as his are more stringent, and he suggessted that I label my produce with EXACTLY what methods I used for pest and weed control. As, DE and guineas are my pest control methods, mulching with straw was my weed control, and tilling... Altho, this year there has been no weed control, and I'm digging the best and tastiest potatoes I've ever grown from a garden with weeds 8 ft. high... (Trying to get ready for our house.) Both of us use very little in the way of interfering with the cycle of nature in the synthetic way. He does get his animals treated by a vet, but only when it's necessary, and there is a process to follow when an animal got sick and had to be put on antibiotics, and the time afterwards before butchering... He's quite brilliant. Your USDA office and Extension service is priceless when it comes to advising you of what methods work, and how to get you started in the direction YOU want to go in. And don't let a couple of bad trips keep you away. The USDA thought I was insane when I started going in there asking my strange questions, when I FINALLY explained what I was wanting to do, they sent me to a guy in one of the offices who was doing the same thing. They just dealt with farmers, and didn't know what I was doing...

-- Louise Whitley (, July 07, 2000.

I am sure that the answer will be a little different from state to state. Everything that I grow is organic, and nothing that I grow is "certified organic". The difference in my state (Ohio) seems to be $50 per year "organic" certification fee (period). I live next door to the only "organic certified" orchard in my county. The owner told me that when it comes time to be recertified, each year that the inspection amounts to checking to be sure that he signed his check... He told me that the inspector just pulls into the driveway and honks the horn, he brings out his checkbook and wahlaa, he gets "certified" for another year, and she (the inspector) does not even have to get out of the (state owned) car. My question is who needs any of this anyway?

-- Ed Copp (, July 08, 2000.

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