Even though my website has been up for only a very short period of time, several people have left comments on the blog that they like to look their local farmer in the eye before they purchase their food.
Why is this? Well, they want some reassurance that the food they are buying is truly organic and free of pesticides.
In essence, they want to know where their food is coming from.
Dole Organic has recognized this desire of many consumers and has actually done something about it.
At the top of the label, you will see a farm number. If you go to doleorganic.com and search for the corresponding number, in this case #633, you will be able to get information about and pictures of the farm where the bananas were produced, including PDFs of the organic certification papers. The content and pictures may vary slightly from farm to farm.
According to Frans Wielemaker, Director of Sourcing and Development of the Organic and Exotics Program at Dole, “this program was started two years ago. It was initially something that our organic certifier wanted us to have but once all the hard work and logistics were implemented, we decided to use the system as a way to connect with the consumer.”
Other interesting facts that Frans shared with me about Dole Organic:
– Organic certifiers check each farm, announced or unannounced, at least twice per year. The certification agency is USDA/NOP (National Organic Program) approved.
– It takes about 2-3 weeks from when bananas are harvested until they reach the supermarket shelves.
– Bananas are washed and cleaned in big buckets of water before they are packed.
– It is the only large company which actively does research to grow bananas organically and help its growers to improve growing and packaging practices.
– Dole has active foundations to help the communities where the organic bananas are grown.
I am a HUGE fan of Dole’s organic bananas, especially the ones from Ecuador, and eat them practically every single day. I love their online initiatives and how they are at the forefront of connecting with their customers, despite being thousands of miles away.
Quite simply, these people “get it”, and we need more companies like Dole Organic.