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Organic Facts

What Does It Mean?


Most people have a basic understanding of what "certified organic" means. Simply put, organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.


Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bio-engineering, or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled "organic," an inspector visits the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Far more than simply "farm fresh", certified-organic products have to meet a rigorous set of criteria in order to wear the label.


It may interest you to know that converting farmland to organic is actually a three-year long process. There is a two-year conversion process consisting of building up the fertility of the land. Produce grown in the first year cannot be stated as organic. In the second year produce may be stated as “In Conversion”. It is not until the third year that produce may be stated as fully organic. Soil and natural fertility building are important parts of organic farming.

In the local organic farming  community, Porter Farms is considered The Gold Standard.
All Porter Farms' farmland has been certified organic since 1990 (nearly 30 years!) and both Jack and Steve Porter were actively involved in writing, developing, and researching organic criteria, policy, and procedures both locally and nationally. We are proud of their pioneering spirit and contributions to organic farming.
You can rest assured that your produce is fresh, chemical-free and truly organic in every sense of the word.

Certified Organic Criteria:

  • Land to be certified must not have had prohibited synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers applied during the previous three years (this includes treated seeds).

  • Transplants used in organic production must be certified organic.

  • Certified organic seeds must be used if commercially available.

  • At least three attempts to source organic seed from viable sources must be made and documented before using any untreated, non-GMO seed.

  • During annual inspections, all fields and facilities will be visited, practices will be verified and audit trail records will be reviewed.

  • The certification fee includes inspection costs.

  • Maps must be provided of all fields to be certified.

  • Fields and pastures must have an identification system, either names or numbers.

  • A soil nutrient analysis is strongly recommended for fields to be certified.

  • Potable water tests are requested annually as a NYS requirement for any operation that is washing crops or processing with any water other than municipal.

  • Farms must provide an equipment list and develop harvest records as a part of the complete audit trail system.

  • Crop production requirements include the use of crop rotation systems.

  • Buffer zones may be necessary if fields are adjacent to conventionally farmed fields.

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