The Cost of Local & Organic Produce

The Cost of Local & Organic Produce

Ever wondered how all those fruits and veggies find their way into your farm box?

It’s quite the process, filled with hard work, challenges and surprises every week. But first, let me tell you why we do it at all…because we LOVE farmers and want to help keep them growing.

Often people think we’re a farm. We’re not. We exist to support hard working farmers by providing an extra stream of revenue and to bring local, organically grown produce to hard working people that can’t get to a physical farmers market.

Is it Local? Is it Organic?

Local has become such a distorted word. Every supermarket has “Local” banners, even while the tangerines are from Chili. The term “Local” can be defined from your own county to 400 miles away. I actually saw a Costco magazine front cover that said, “We make local global”.

If you truly buy local, you eat what is seasonally available. Apples in fall, citrus in winter, berries in spring, stone fruit in summer.

Here’s exactly what we do. We buy directly from farms right here in San Diego like JR Organics. We also buy direct from farms within a 250 mile radius of our warehouse. That reaches from certified organic fair trade farms in Baja California to Central Valley. Because some of these farms do not deliver directly to San Diego, we use a certified organic distributor called Charlie’s Organics to supplement our farm boxes with a larger variety produce.

Why do we source outside of San Diego? We want to give you the widest variety of produce available within a few hours drive. While San Diego is great for citrus and avocados, areas like the Central Valley do better with apples and pears because of the climate. Plus, because of the cost of urban sprawl and the cost of living we just don’t have as many farms as we use to here in San Diego.

The Cost of Sustainability

Farms operating in California pay the same wage, workers comp and payroll taxes as any business, plus expensive water. Many of the local farms we work with have scaled down operations because they can no longer afford to sell wholesale.

Practicing sustainable agriculture isn’t cheap. The farmer and his workers need to be paid fairly to survive, yet how much is the customer willing to pay? Every day our farmers compete with cheap produce from farms that only pay their workers a few dollars a day.

And sometimes cheap produce masquerading as local. No matter how it’s advertised, if it’s super cheap, it’s not grown organically on a farm that is paying their workers fairly. Most likely, it has been grown conventionally and bought on the cheap from the LA Market. Unfortunately, this type of deception is happening and does great harm to local food producers while giving people the false security of thinking their food is organic and locally grown.

Save Our Food System

“People want to be able to feed their families with safe, healthy, nutritious food,” Top Chef Tom Colichio wrote recently, “COVID-19 has shown that shorter supply chains and local production are key to a more resilient food system, and he now has an opportunity to proactively shift power to local, small-scale farmers who will best serve their communities.”  Now, more than ever, we are seeing that a decentralized food system is the key to ensuring food security for our future.

As the saying goes, we are willing to pay for what we value. Every dollar you spend at Daily Harvest Express is saying that you understand the benefits of locally grown produce, and you value the lives of the farm owners and their workers.

Saving our local food system takes people like you, doing what you do.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!