Organic Food Processing of Onions, Garlic, Peppers

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Joe’s Vegetables, Inc. The Spice of Organic Life We produce organic onions, garlic, chile peppers, bell peppers and spices. We freeze, dehydrate, roast and puree all of these vegetables. Our family has been farming the same land in Central California since 1868. Our great-grandparents immigrated to California after the Potato Famine in Ireland. They purchased the farm from Colonel Hollister who had subdivided a Spanish Rancho. Our family grew dryland grain and hay until the early 1900s when irrigation systems were developed. Since then, our family has grown vegetables. In 1992, my sister, Kitty and I started Joe’s Vegetables to process and pack the organic produce. We have now grown into a full-time crew of 12. We produce ingredients for all the best organic companies. If you have ever eaten an organic salsa, chances are that you have eaten our vegetables.

Our great-grandparents were either incredibly smart or incredibly lucky. Our farm in Hollister, California is on some of the most fertile farmland in the entire world. The climate is very temperate so we can grow a very wide range of vegetables for a long period of the year. My sister, Kitty, runs the packing and processing plant. We are very proud of our track record of high quality. She is responsible for that high-quality reputation. I do the sales and marketing as well as the coordination with the farm.

WHAT IS ORGANIC FARMING?

Organic farming is farming like Mother Nature intended us to farm — building fertile soil instead of using chemical crutches. We farm without any synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides. We process and pack without any chemical additives or irradiation. Our seeds are not genetically modified.

We believe that healthy soil creates a healthy plant. A healthy plant resists disease and pests. A healthy plant produces a healthy and nutritious vegetable. It is just like your body: if you eat the right food, do not smoke, exercise moderately, you will tend to be healthier.

We build healthy soil in two ways: spreading compost and growing cover crops. Compost is not just rotten organic matter. It is topsoil produced in a very scientific process. We mix straw with green waste and manure. Green waste is a blend of yard clippings, grass clippings and tree leaves. This mixture is placed in rows at our composting facility. Every day the pile is scientifically analyzed for temperature, moisture and carbon dioxide. If the temperature is too high, or the moisture is too low or the carbon dioxide level is too high, we turn the pile and add moisture. This process allows the good bacteria to grow while it kills off the bad bacteria such as E. Coli. After about 2 months, the mixture stabilizes and you now have topsoil. This compost is spread on the farm which spreads the good bacteria to the rest of the farm. Good bacteria aids the plant in accepting and digesting nutrients just like bacteria in your body helps you digest your food.

A cover crop is grown to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil. We plant a mixture of beans, oats, and vetch in the Fall right after harvest. This grows with the winter rains sometimes to a height of 10 feet! We mow this down in the Spring before planting our vegetables. This adds an incredible amount of natural nitrogen to the soil so that we may not have to add any more nitrogen while the vegetables are growing. My sister, Kitty, runs the packing and processing plant. We are very proud of our track record of high quality. She is responsible for that high-quality reputation. I do sales and marketing as well as the coordination with the farm.

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