Back in October, my wife Monica and I journeyed to Cologne. Every other year the largest food show in the world is held there. I’ve been there many times over the years. It’s a great place to meet people and share ideas. I like to pick up on things before they get to our shores. I was very impressed with how far the organic programs have come in Europe and the support they receive from the governments. The meats on the menus on the German railroad were all organic.
After walking the show for two days and picking up a lot of new ideas, we headed for Vienna Austria. Every store or restaurant we visited in Austria had organic poultry available. There is no doubt in my mind that they take organic production very seriously in Europe. This trip definitely lifted my spirit in moving our organic program forward.
Before leaving Austria, I had to stop in Ebbs to visit the world headquarters of the Halfinger Horse. I have 11 of these great horses on our farm. They give me a break from the chickens. Europe was a great inspiration for me. Now I am home with my healthy, happy chickens.
My next blog entry will visit the movie Food Inc.
I recently participated in the opening of a new Whole Foods Market Store in Centennial Colorado, an area just south of Denver. My participation consisted of 3 days of cooking and sampling our Bell & Evans chicken nuggets to thousands of customers. This is a great format that allows me to answer questions that customers have and ask questions that I have for the customers. Sometimes I am able to convert Vegetarians back to eating chicken. Often they just need a little education and some good honest answers.
Participating in hundreds of these events over the years has helped me in the direction of how we operate at Bell & Evans. A popular concern I had from many in Colorado was the GMO issue and Organic Certification.
In recent years, large seed companies unloaded their GMO seed on famers in a big way. Those farmers were told GMO seed was the answer to feed the growing world’s population. Now they are told that we need GMO seed to produce enough corn ethanol to decrease our dependence on foreign oil.
All of the certified Organic corn and soybean we purchase is of U.S. origin and the farms that produce these crops plant non-GMO seed. The best certified Organic grain farmer cannot build a wall high enough to prevent pollen from drifting from a nearby conventional field from spreading across his Organic field. So to say our organic grain is 100 % GMO free would be wrong.
Now we have the lower cost certified Organic grain grown in China coming in through Canada and possibly other avenues. I don’t have any reason to believe their Organic certification has any value. Many in the poultry and livestock production have resorted to this grain to buy market share because of its lower cost. I am disappointed that retail buyers haven’t helped stop this wrong.
We can grow all the certified Organic grain we need right in the U.S.A. I like to know what I am paying for especially when I am paying a premium. There is more feed stuff to come.