Where were you in July of 1984? Maybe you weren’t yet a glimmer in your parents’ eyes. Or were you in school? Were you married with kids? Picture yourself as a young adult who grew up in the city, who hadn’t really given a ton of thought to how food is produced. But with your partner, you find yourself living on a 2½-acre heirloom raspberry farm in verdant Carmel Valley, California where you’re going to live rent free in exchange for taking care of the raspberries as well as the fruit and nut trees. No farming experience.
Hmmm. Where to start? What would you do? Here’s what they did.
Our young founders – Drew & Myra Goodman — cared deeply about the health of people and the planet. So rather than reflexively farming the land the way it had been farmed, they wanted to figure out how to grow things in way that respected Mother Nature rather than tried to battle her.
Remember, it’s 1984. Organic was not the popular kid on the block yet. Organic was more like the Don-Quixote-Tilting-At-Windmills thing for starry-eyed idealists. “Those kids are crazy,” scoffed other local farmers. “It’ll never work!”
But they were determined. They turned to Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, and with the support of some sympathetic local nursery people, they started to figure it out.
Then came the little table by the side of the country road where they sold their extraordinary organic heirloom berries and evangelized to anyone who would listen about why organic matters. Then they started growing culinary herbs and the local chefs started buying these extraordinary berries and herbs from them. And then came the organic baby greens, still mainly for chefs at this point. Mainly for one chef. And then in 1986, that chef lost his gig. And they lost their biggest customer.
But they were determined. With a lot of perishable organic baby greens on their hands and no customer, they had to think fast. They’d been washing, drying and bagging greens for their own salads all along. And they seemed to stay fresh for at least a week. So they made up a bunch of bags, made their own little header cards to attach to the bags and threw up a Hail Mary to see if any grocery stores might want to offer these bags of prewashed greens to their shoppers.
This was all just two years from when they first moved to farm.
You can guess what happened from there. Earthbound Farm organic baby greens kept growing in popularity. Organic in general kept growing in popularity. And the farm kept growing to meet the demand. In 1995, they joined forces with dedicated third-generation family farmers Stan Pura, John Romans, and Mission Ranches. These farmers were professionals and helped Earthbound Farm scale up organic farming to meet all that ever-growing demand.
Today, Earthbound Farm is part of the independent and family-run Taylor Farms. It’s interesting to note that Earthbound Farm’s partnership with Taylor Farms spans decades. In Taylor Farms’ early days, Earthbound Farm provided Taylor Farms with prewashed packaged baby greens (like spring mix, baby spinach, baby arugula, etc.) for their foodservice customers.
Since those early days, Taylor Farms has grown to become one of the most respected fresh produce companies in the country, with 10,000 dedicated employees, each of whom cares deeply about the quality of its product. Taylor Farms is a cherished pillar of the Salinas Valley community, actively engaged in philanthropy and community activities to support the vibrancy of the community that is home to its headquarters…and to the historical legacy of the California fresh produce industry. We are proud to be the flagship organic brand of Taylor Farms, carrying on as passionate, principled, pioneers, right here in the Salinas Valley.
38 years on from the first days on the farm, we’re still idealists. But now we’re just reading Don Quixote and ecstatic that organic food is such a popular choice. Thanks to you for choosing organic.