The Goodmans have moved from
spending Sunday afternoons washing
lettuce in their living room to operating two plants
that processed 22 million servings of salad per week
last year. Earthbound Farm’s couple of acres in Carmel
Valley has expanded to 34,000 certified-organic acres
in four states—California, Washington, Colorado
and Arizona—and four other countries: Canada,
New Zealand, Chile and Mexico. Earthbound Farm
is also transitioning a little more than 13,000 acres,
mostly in California and Arizona, that are lying fallow
while they’re converted to organic land. What’s most
exciting is that, as the company’s capacity for growing
expands, so does consumers’ interest in organics.
The word “organic” has long since been returned
to their packages for Costco. Myra remembers making a presentation on the benefits of organic foods
to Costco a few years ago. After the daylong presentation, she recalls, the buyers told her that they
felt pursuing organic was something they should
do. “I’ve never seen another company that wants to
understand the issues,” she says. “Having someone
go organic for the right reasons is exciting.”
People around the United
States can buy Earthbound
Farm’s produce, while shoppers in Carmel Valley can
also stop by the farm stand
for fresh flowers and other
Taking care of bodies and the planet
What motivates consumers to eat organic food?
Myra believes that knowing someone who has become
ill often propels people to make the switch. Another
reason is the birth of a child: She says she became
more commited to organic food after having two children. And, similar to her own experience, she says, “I
think for a lot of people it’s a gut instinct. It just makes
sense to them: ‘If I eat something without chemicals,
wouldn’t that be better for me?’ ”
She adds that when you start educating yourself
about all of the chemicals used in conventional farming, it’s a little scary, because you never know what
effect they will have down the road. “Eating organic is
a way people can take control, and it’s not hard to do,”
she says. “It tastes good, and you’re helping take care of
the environment too.”
Drew believes environmental reasons for choosing
organic food are often more obvious
than health reasons. And environmental
stewardship is an aspect of the business
that’s always on the Goodmans’ minds.
In 2007, through farming their 34,000
acres organically, they will avoid using
more than 12 million pounds of synthetic chemicals and conserve an estimated 1.89 million gallons of petroleum
by finding alternatives to petroleum-based pesticides and fertilizers.
Additionally, they have planted
more than 400,000 trees throughout the United States and annually
purchase renewable-energy credits.
Earthbound Farm also uses biodiesel
for as much farming equipment as
possible. “I’m personally and professionally very passionate about this,”
says Drew, who oversees the program. “It’s a very ecological step in
the right direction.”
Earthbound Farm’s famous
Maple Almond Granola
(from Food to Live By, Workman Publishing)
4 1/2 cups ( 18 ounces) old-fashioned rolled
oats (not instant)
¾ cup ( 3 ounces) shelled, raw, unsalted
1 1/2 cups slivered or coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup, preferably grade A
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup raisins
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325˚F.
2. Place the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Add the maple syrup and oil, and stir together until all the dry ingredients are moistened.
3. Spread the granola on a roughly 12 x 17-inch rimmed baking sheet. Bake the granola until it
begins to brown, about 25 minutes, then stir it with a flat spatula. Let the granola continue to bake
until it is light golden brown, dry and fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Stir the granola at least
once more as it bakes, and watch it carefully during the final minutes because it can burn quickly.
4. Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack, add the raisins and stir to combine. Let the granola cool
completely. Transfer the granola to an airtight container. It can be stored for up to 1 month or frozen
for up to 6 months. You can serve the granola straight from the freezer. It doesn’t get hard and it
thaws almost immediately—just pour on some milk. Makes about 8 cups.