Monday, March 3, 2008

Out Sourced

From now on, no cucumbers for pickles and relish will be grown in Washington and Oregon. For anyone reading this west of the Mississippi River, when you go to your favorite fast food chain, or buy any pickle and relish product produced by Dean Foods or Big Valley, the cucumbers they are made from will be coming from India or Chile.

Big Valley (spin off corporation under the Dean Foods umbrella) abruptly terminated (broke) the contract they had with all the growers in Washington and Oregon last week. With one phone call I lost 65% of the income I made working the farm with no clear hope of replacing it this year. The word came too late.

I'm not the big loser, however. You are. Just remember, to keep the Costcos, Wal-Marts, Safeways and Krogers going strong, you will now be eating products fertilized with human waste, picked by slave labor making less than $1/day and sprayed with DDT. I'd think twice before eating those pickles in your next Big Mac as Dean and its spin off companies supply pickling products to most of the fast food chains in America.

What can you do? Well, there is one thing. The next time you go shopping, look close at the fresh produce. If your store does not plainly show point of origin, (where the produce was grown, NOT just where it was repacked for distribution), if that information is not marked above all produce, demand to know why it isn't and where your fresh produce is coming from.

Stores that do not plainly display point of origin of their produce do so for one very important reason: they know, given the choice, consumers will buy American quality. When you run on the cheap like the big chains, the last thing produce managers want is an informed consumer asking questions.

Our cucumber business has been out sourced to India. So has your health. You will do well to start asking your grocery store some very tough questions about where they are buying your food.


ABC said...

I really have no desire to make my own pickles. So do you know which if any of the brands still use domestic cukes? There must be somebody!

SDP45 said...

I've been making my own relish from local cukes for a while. The farmers market is a great way to support local farmers, and I get all my produce from them, in season.

City of Seattle sewer sludge gets hauled out to Eastern Washington all the time and certain farmers use it for fertilizer. Pretty gross.

Thanks for the notice. I hope Dean goes broke.

jbrugger said...

That's ridiculous, and I sure feel for you. I've seen a lot of farmers kicked around over the years. My pickles have been homemade lately -- have a couple recipes from my grandmother and it's really easy. The local farmers market has plenty of good cukes.
A popular old-line pickle plant here in Portland just closed down -- I'm sure that's part of the Dean move.