Earthbound Farm built their own biofuel plant
and produces 4 million gallons a year from soybeans
and corn. Drew views the use of biodiesel as the next
step in sustainability. He says, “Food production in
this country is a very resource-intensive endeavor.
There appear to be various ways in which we can
be more careful with resources, whether it’s how we
produce electricity or water management.”
When making the decision to buy organic food,
cost is another element that cannot be overlooked.
Myra says several factors add to the higher price of
organic produce. The primary reasons include higher
crop loss, hand-weeding of the land, dedicating a portion of the acreage to beneficial insect gardens, planting
cover crops and rotating crops to give the land a break.
For example, they grow carrots for one year on a patch
of land and then not again for at least five years. This
break ensures that diseases will not build up in the soil.
A stand for organic
On a warm, sunny day in early April, Myra is
making a daily stop at the Earthbound Farm farm
stand. The stand began as a way for the farm to sell
its produce. Today it’s an 1,100-square-foot storefront—a recycled building from Clint Eastwood’s old
Mission Ranch resort—which had sales of nearly $2
million last year selling produce, baked goods and
other organic products. It also houses one of the few
USDA-certified-organic kitchens in the United States.
That means everything from the meat to the olive oil is
organic—with a paper trail to back up those claims.
Myra, dressed for a farm tour in a T-shirt, capris
and baseball cap, says that more than 1,000 school
kids annually tour the stand and Earthbound’s
nearby 32-acre research-and-development farm,
which grows flowers, rainbow chard, pumpkins and
other specialty items.
Adjacent to the farm stand is a kids’ garden.
Behind that lies a U-pick herb garden, and farther
back is an aromatherapy labyrinth where visitors can
kick off their shoes and walk a path lined with lavender and chamomile.
It used to be that the farm stand’s season ran
from Earth Day in April to Halloween. It’s now open
every day but Thanksgiving, Christmas and New
Year’s Day. Earth Day is still a big event, with games
and educational activities. (This year’s surprise fact: If
all U.S. shoppers used a reusable bag just once when
shopping, 60,000 trees a year would be saved.)
Mother Nature’s work is never done
Despite the fact that the Goodmans have been
farming for more than 20 years, Myra feels the business is getting harder. Bouts of extreme weather can
wreak havoc on crops. For example, the extended
cold snap that hit California at the beginning of
this year destroyed 70 percent of their lettuce. And
although they remain pioneers in the organic industry, more competition provides an added challenge.
And there are food-safety concerns, such as last
year’s E. coli outbreak. To ensure the safety of their
food, Myra says, they test both raw and finished salad
products, holding everything until test results are in.
Costco requires finished-product testing.
Earthbound Farm has even brought a microbiologist on board to help with food safety. “Part of the
commitment to healthy food is producing food free
of pathogens,” Myra says. “We’re committed to doing
everything that we can possibly do.”
Over the years, both Goodmans have done every
job in the company. In the beginning Myra did
payroll with a calculator and had a hand in hiring.
Drew handled firings and sales calls. They brought in
Charles Sweat as chief financial officer in 1998, and
named him president in November 2006. Myra says
that he has helped them make better projections and
stay ahead of the curve. It also allows the Goodmans
the opportunity to pursue their interests and strengths
within the business.
Today, Myra runs the farm stand and Earthbound
Farm’s Carmel-based marketing office. Her honorary
job titles include “keeper of the brand” and “executive
vice-president of details.”
“Myra’s capacity for details is astounding,” says
Drew, who as CEO focuses more on big-picture
matters. He oversees sales, forming partnerships
with growers, transitioning conventional land to
organic, developing new products and working on
the biodiesel directive.
Drew doesn’t think that organic farming is right
for all growers, but can imagine the day when organic
produce and dairy products increase from their current 5 percent to 20 percent of all available food.
“I do think one of the more gratifying things for
me is the popularity that organic is enjoying now and
that we’ve had a part in that,” says Drew.
Myra adds, “It’s satisfying to know that you’re
creating something to feed people that’s healthy. You
can feel good about your work.” C
Each year Earthbound Farm
What it means
attracts thousands of kids
who participate in insect
hunts and learn about
to be organic
To earn certification
from the USDA, organic
• Use no chemical herbicides, fumigants or synthetic fertilizers, and no
on soil or produce
• Meet specific requirements for labeling and
• Establish buffers between
their fields and nearby
• Have long-term soil
• Keep detailed records of
all products used in their
• Observe a three-year
transition period for
fields that have been
Source: Earthbound Farm
Organic Trade Association
( www.ota.com) promotes
and protects the growth of
The Organic Center (www.
cates the benefits of organic
farming and products.
Organic.org ( www.organic.
org) explains the steps neces-
sary to live an organic lifestyle.
National Organic Program
This government site details
the requirements of organic