Original Publication: Recordnet.com
Morada Produce Co., a Stockton farming and packing operation handling cherries, walnuts, onions and peppers, said it has received a “sustainably grown” third-party certification from SCS Global Services in response to growing consumer demand.
Among the packing house’s sustainable practices are:
• A water-recycling system that captures all of the water from cherry-processing operations and reuses it to irrigate an adjoining walnut orchard.
• A 400 kilowatt solar array that stands over its parking lot, providing about 40 percent of the operation’s power needs.
• Support for community agricultural education initiatives.
It’s part of a three-pronged approach by Morada to provide the highest-quality produce, minimize its environmental impact and help sustain its employees and the community, said Scott Brown, production manager.
And it doesn’t hurt the company’s profitability either.
“The truth is a lot of these projects have been going on for a number of years because of their effect on the bottom line,” Brown said.
And while Morada Produce has long packed a number of organic products more to fill a niche and generate higher prices, the move to seek sustainable certification came from growing consumer demand, and as a result of food retailer demand for earth-friendly products.
“Whether it be Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Costco or Raley’s, they are very interested in being able to market our product in their stores as sustainably grown,” Brown said. “This has really come to fruition in the last two years. It’s no longer niche. It’s almost expected of you.”
Earlier this year, the California Cherry Board announced a sustainable cherry production program, providing a workbook to guide and allow farmers to assess themselves on sustainable growing practices.
Brown said Morada Produce fully supports the effort to boost sustainable farming practices , but its own effort to meet third-party certification is separate.
“We are all for the industry as a whole becoming sustainable, … but we did this independently of the board,” he said.
Emeryville-based SCS Global checks a number of criteria for sustainable grown products, according to its website. Those include sustainable farming, ecosystem management and protection, resource conservation, waste management, fair labor practices, community benefits, and product quality, safety and purity.
SCS Media ContactLinda Brown | Senior Vice President
SCS Global Services To find out more, contact Linda Brown, or call 510.452.8010.