Kyle Mays, North Store Produce Manager, and Natalia Mikkola, South Store Produce Manager
Thank you for the question! We do our best to keep one origin for products, but sometimes we must work with what is available in order to keep a product in stock, especially one in high demand like avocados. Sometimes, that might mean taking products from multiple origins. Our priority is always to order local first, and then move outward from there as availability and quality requires.
Mexican farmers have been using organic practices long before the USDA started a label requirement in the United States. Often these farms are right on the border of Mexico and California and are owned by the same farmer. Many of them own land and use the same organic practices whether they are in California, Arizona, or Mexico. The USDA, Oregon Tilth, and Organically Grown Company are all a part of making sure that produce from Mexico is organic and meets the expectations of First Alternative Co-op shoppers and Owners. The agencies and company have all visited the farms we associate with and our produce management team has had a few opportunities to meet some of the farmers like Covilli, Wholesum, and others at conferences. We are fully confident that they are some of the best and organically minded farmers out there. We appreciate their commitments and gaps they are able to fill when we are unable to source local options through the winter.
We have and continue to be completely transparent about the origins of all of our produce items. We go to great lengths to maintain this information accurately on all signage, even though origins can change frequently. There are some logistical considerations we must take into account for the formatting and text size on our signage, but we will continue to strive to make it as easy to read as possible. If you ever have any questions about where an item comes from, please don’t hesitate to ask a Produce team member for clarification.