at the beginning of june i went to the mother earth news fair (i wrote about it at the time, but i’m too lazy right now to link to the post 😦 feel free to scroll back through and find it though, if you want to read all about it 😉 ). one of the booths i went to was promoting wholesum family farms. they were super nice, and they were raffling some neat prizes. i particularly coveted an apron, which i won.

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… yeah, i still don’t know if everyone won something (like where you sign up to win a “free” vacation and then for your vacation you go to a seminar where they pitch you a timeshare for a condo…) or if, in fact, i just completely lucked out. but they did indeed send me an apron, which was indeed cool, and they asked me to put a photo of me in the apron on my facebook page.


so, clearly they had no idea that i still live in 1871, that i have no facebook page, and that i have no clue how to work a digital camera. to be fair, i do know people in actual real life who can operate such complex machinery, and this blog is in fact linked to a facebook page, so i guess they were at least in the ballpark of reality…

in any case, i offered to mention the apron on my blog, so here’s the shout out:


by the way, the people in the booth also gave me some delicious veggies to take home for my family, which was super of them, so they deserve thanks for that as well.

but here’s the rub: when i got home, i checked into their company. they did me a solid, so of course i wanted to talk them up. they are officially this quaint little “family farm”. but really they are a company out of mexico.

and here’s why i find this concerning, and maybe i am totally off base. if i am, i truly hope you will correct me, and educate me.

american organic standards are wishy-washy enough. there is enough controversy over who can call themselves “organic” and some of it just comes down to bureaucratic haggling. lots of times you are better off just buying from a farmer you know and trust than relying on a stamp of “organic”. but, short of that firsthand relationship, the organic certification is supposed to mean something.

once you get into other countries’ politics, and who imports and exports what, then you are relying on their levels of accountability. you have to trust that there isn’t graft and corruption about the paperwork and the certifications (you don’t have to lecture me about america not being above this sort of thing; believe me, i know…). some countries actually have stricter standards in place than the US, but a country like mexico just doesn’t inspire too much confidence in me…

now, here’s the problem: i have been sort of morally conflicted for a while about whether even to post this. the folks at the booth were nice to me. the company gave me a freebie. while intellectually i believe i shouldn’t be bought for the price of a $10 apron and a bag of vegetables, i will confess to having some ambivalence to potentially dissing them in a post that should be thanking them.

isn’t that silly?

but it’s true.

i want to just tell you how amazing their products are, and that you should run out and support them, but i don’t know. are mexican organics okay? are they better or worse than regular produce? and are they better or worse than other imports? i don’t have the information or the wherewithal to unscramble this, so i have just opted out of making a decision, but maybe you can fill in some of the missing pieces for me.

and maybe then i can have a clear conscience one way or the other…