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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2005 * Archive through June 27, 2005 * Organic < Previous Next >

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Hedgie Bartol
Junior Member
Username: Hedgieb

Post Number: 87
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 09:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

OK, so if it is a stupid question then at least it has been asked by a stupid guy...
My wife has been getting into "organic" foods, cleaners, etc. lately and we recently read an article that "Organic Beer" is seeing an up-tick. Can we say for sure that homebrew is "organic" as defined by the FDA?
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 3272
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 09:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

No. To do that, you have to brew with organic malts (such as those sold by Briess) and organic hops. That is, malt and hops grown without pesticides and herbicides.

You certainly can buy organic malt and hops if you want. I have, and can't say I noticed any difference in taste.
 

Dave Bossie
Junior Member
Username: Boss_brew

Post Number: 35
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 09:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here in Santa Cruz, the LHBS is Seven Bridges which carries only organic supplies. I believe that to call your brew organic, you have to use organic grain (or extract), and hops. Their web site has more info - www.breworganic.com. They're also a co-op which is also kinda cool. I have a couple of friends that use their kits, and have gotten really good results. Hope this answers your question.
Dave
 

davidw
Senior Member
Username: Davidw

Post Number: 1174
Registered: 03-2001
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 09:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"I have, and can't say I noticed any difference in taste."

In the case of people getting into the 'organic' scene I'll say this: I think it's mostly the thought that counts.

Heh.

Cry havoc! And let slip the business of ferrets!!
 

Heath
Member
Username: Frizedo

Post Number: 176
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 09:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Organic is a nice commercial trendy word that means very little. Ive read that sewage used in growing is considered organic, in which ecoli and other harmful bacteria florish. I am on the other hand all for the least amount of chemicals used in horiculture as possible. It just sounds like a label slapped on products to appeal to enviromentally concous individuals.

Hey Nick Z howbout your input...

Heath
 

Connie
Intermediate Member
Username: Connie

Post Number: 409
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 12:08 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

my wife is a big believer in the organic/healthfood/homopathic movement, I just notice the $$$ difference
 

Hedgie Bartol
Junior Member
Username: Hedgieb

Post Number: 88
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 12:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Too true, Connie, too true.
 

Dave Bossie
Junior Member
Username: Boss_brew

Post Number: 36
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 12:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Actually, the products sold by 7 Bridges (and Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, a new micro) are certified by Ca Certified Organic Farmers http://www.ccof.org/, and have to follow their requirements. I'm not a part of 7 Bridges, but buy some of my supplies there.
Dave
 

Joshua Coman
Junior Member
Username: Crazyjae

Post Number: 31
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 04:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Just a tidbit I learned in my newsroom after a colleague of mine wrote a story about a local winery that was a pioneer of the "organic" wine craze --

She did a story on Coturri Winery, a local place that has been a pioneer in the "industry". http://www.coturriwinery.com

She made the cardinal mistake of saying that they don't use pesticides or herbicides -- she was barraged with calls the next morning -- from the growers, the grower's alliance, the local wine shops, etc...

What she quickly learned, the hard way, was that "organic" doesn't actually mean it was grown without pesticides or herbicides -- only that the pesticides or herbicides are certified "organic".
 

Dave Bossie
Junior Member
Username: Boss_brew

Post Number: 39
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 05:34 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A couple of notes from the CCOF website. The simple answer to what is certifiably organic comes from the National Organic Program. To be organic - "Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones." CCOF uses these guidelines to certify farms and processors. I'm not saying that all of the bandwagon organic hoopla is good, but some people are trying to support good organic sustainable farming. I think that's a good thing, because we have to start somewhere...
 

Belly Buster Bob
Senior Member
Username: Canman

Post Number: 2358
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 10:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

here in my world it is difficult for a farm to be certified organic although the grocery store does not come under the same rules and routinely places organic stickers on all sorts of produce. Organic by definition simply means; Of, relating to, or derived from living organisms.
be careful what you pay extra for, you may not be buying what you think
Bellybuster Bob
www.bellybuster.netfirms.com
 

Mike Huss
Advanced Member
Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 698
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 01:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Buying something that's supposed to be organic reminds me of buying a hybrid car. You pay a premium for something that barely gets better mileage than a typical 4 cylinder and gets worse mileage than a diesel.
 

Miker
Member
Username: Miker

Post Number: 209
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 03:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This is one of those topics ripe with misinformation.

"Organic is a nice commercial trendy word that means very little. Ive read that sewage used in growing is considered organic, in which ecoli and other harmful bacteria florish."

This is definitely not true!

"here in my world it is difficult for a farm to be certified organic although the grocery store does not come under the same rules and routinely places organic stickers on all sorts of produce"

Not sure why it is difficult for farmers in your area, and in the U.S. only food certified by the National Organic Board can be labeled as organic now that the national standards have been adopted. Growers and producers all must follow the same standards.

Now, there are still some rogue certifying agencies and growers out there, but they cannot use the words "organically certified" or even "organic" on their products.

As far as using organic ingredients in brewing, I'm all for it. Following some requests, our LHBS is trying to get organic grain for us, and as mentioned Seven Bridges has lots of organic ingredients. Freshops has a couple of organic hop varieties from New Zealand. We ordered the Pacific Gem from them, but haven't used any yet.

I won't deny that the costs are sometimes prohibitively expensive for organic products, but I think this will change just like anything else
 

Hedgie Bartol
Junior Member
Username: Hedgieb

Post Number: 89
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 03:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wow! Mike, good info. I always take statements with a grain of salt unless there is a source referenced.

I understand that Samuel Smith makes an organic brew... anyone have any experience?
 

Dave Bossie
Junior Member
Username: Boss_brew

Post Number: 41
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 03:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There are several other domestic Organic beers available, including Wolavers, Eel River, Fish Brewing Co. and Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing. I'm sure there are more...
Dave
 

Nick Zeigler
Junior Member
Username: Ziggy

Post Number: 60
Registered: 09-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 04:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Heath... perhaps later.
;)
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 4738
Registered: 01-2001
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 05:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I garden organically and buy as much organic food as I can. Besides the moral and ethical implications, it just plain tastes better.
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Heath
Member
Username: Frizedo

Post Number: 177
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 09:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks Miker, you really informed me, "This is definatly not true" statement really changed my mind, because of the indepth explaination. As an overseer of the organic industry you must be a busy guy.

Heath
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 4739
Registered: 01-2001
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 09:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Can anyone give me an example of an organic farmer treating their crops with sewage? Or are we into the area of urban myth again?
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Heath
Member
Username: Frizedo

Post Number: 178
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 09:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

5-10 years ago in california there was an outbreak of ecoli due to farmers using raw sewage to fertilice their lettuce crop. THis is true no urban myth. I was working on a dairy farm with my friend for the summer, and he was the next farm over. He blamed it on his immigant workers, he lost alot of contracts but as far as I know he still in business.

Heath
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 4741
Registered: 01-2001
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 09:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thank you, Heath. Was he a certified organic farm?
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Heath
Member
Username: Frizedo

Post Number: 179
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 10:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Not sure if he was or not. I do know that organic farming is great thing, but is rarly regulated. I live around farmers and drink with them. One even grows 6 row for me as well as 2 hop fields on his land. Many farmers sell their goods as certified organic and its not. Simply for the increase per flat cost. Major corporations whom own farms, such as dole, are completly untrustable. I use to live on an Island called Lanai in Hawaii which use to produce 100% of the nations pinapples which is now moved to the philipines. Dont expect organic theere. Truthfully anything labeled organic from another country more than likely isnt. The goverment is hard on farmers, price fixing ect. If you dont beleive prices arent fixed I can have you call my neighbor whom was givin a check just so he wouldnt grow his corn crop. The check doesnt amount to what he would have earned in harvest time. Being 6% feeding the entire nation is a burden Im all for the suckers buying the "certified organic" its keeping my friends in business. And so goes the circle of lies and misinformation we all consume on a daily basis.

Im in no way trying to diminish the fact that true organic gardening isnt good, Im simply saying its rare. Know your farmer!!

Heath
 

Belly Buster Bob
Senior Member
Username: Canman

Post Number: 2359
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 11:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Now, there are still some rogue certifying agencies and growers out there, but they cannot use the words "organically certified" or even "organic" on their products. "

Right.....what's stoppin them?
Bellybuster Bob
www.bellybuster.netfirms.com
 

Roger Herpst
Member
Username: Roger456

Post Number: 174
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 11:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Competitors calling the ag board, stores etc. You'd be surprised how pissed a store can get at a vendor that is lying to them about their product.
 

Joshua Coman
Junior Member
Username: Crazyjae

Post Number: 33
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 02:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Denny --

I don't know about crops for humans, or organic crops, but it is common practice in the Palo Verde Valley and the Imperial Valleys' of California for farmers to use sludge as a fetilizer.

And while the crops grown in sludge cannot be used to feed humans, the sludge fetilized crops (typically alfalfa) is fed to cattle and other animals.

At a newspaper I worked at down south I received a ton of complaints from a group of people living along the banks of the Colorado River. The farmer, a guy named Bobby Hull, was fetilizing his alfalfa fields with sludge from Los Angeles. The neighbors raised a stink about the stink and about the possibility that the fertilizer was finding its way into the Colorado River, which is used for drinking water in most major SoCal cities.

When I talked to Hull, he said it is something that he's been doing for at least 20-years, and that he's done it at his farms in both Valleys. Apparently the sludge companies pay the farmers to dump it, and they also pay for the manpower to spread it. For the farmer, it's a great deal -- getting paid to have someone else fertilize your fields...

Of course sludge is supposedly non-toxic, since it's been both chemically and heat treated for a year. So it's not supposed to pose a health threat.

And no, Hull's fields weren't certified as organic. But that alfalfa was going to Chino, where it was sold to cattle farms in California and Arizona for animal feed.
 

Joshua Coman
Junior Member
Username: Crazyjae

Post Number: 34
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 02:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh, and one thing I forgot -- sludge is treated sewage.
 

Drew Avis
Member
Username: Strangebrew

Post Number: 206
Registered: 08-2002
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 02:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

FWIW, I think buying local produce is probably more important than buying organic, from both a taste and environmental perspective. And if you can buy local organic stuff, all the better.

Back on the brewing topic, I bought a "sale" bag of organic chariot malt two years ago. It was on sale because it was old, and had become infested! So I gave it to a friend, who brewed what I thought was the best wee heavy I've ever tasted with it (I think it was Skotrat's recipe). Wish I hadn't gotten rid of it!
www.strangebrew.ca
 

Miker
Member
Username: Miker

Post Number: 210
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 03:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Thanks Miker, you really informed me, "This is definatly not true" statement really changed my mind, because of the indepth explaination. As an overseer of the organic industry you must be a busy guy."
Heath

Dave Bossie had just quoted the CCOF regulations pointing out that sewage sludge was not allowed in organic farming, so I thought this was adequate backing for my post. You stated that you "read that sewage used in growing is considered organic, in which ecoli and other harmful bacteria florish." yet the only evidence that you've brought forward was one farm using sewage that you're not sure was even organic. Where is the backing for your statement?

Having worked on 2 different organic farms, I can say that the regulation part is better than most of the rest of the farming industry. Detailed records of all practices are required and we had an annual inspection where they looked at all aspects of the farm. In the many non-organic farming situations I've worked with since then I've never once seen or heard of, for example, and EPA inspector examining the farm or greenhouse for what pesticides are being used even though there are plenty of rules for what can and cannot be used.

Sure there are going to be those that will try to get around the rules, and the national organic program is probably another underfunded government agency unable to police their rules as well as they would like, but I really don't see why you want to condemn the whole organic industry for that.

I don't consider myself a "sucker" for supporting something I believe in even though it may have some problems. Most people in the organic industry have the best of intentions and the majority of organic farmers that I've met are trying to do things right.

And yes, many farmers (as well as home lawns, and golf courses as well) use sewage sludge for fertilizer, but it simply is not allowed on organically certified food crops.
 

Joshua Coman
Junior Member
Username: Crazyjae

Post Number: 36
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 04:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mikker --

I was a bit curious about the whole organic idea, since it has seemed to have raised a bit of conflict here.

In searching the Internet, all I have been able to find are contradictory articles, fact papers and stories regarding organic farming.

It seems to me that there are two very distinct schools of though.

One, the organic movement, attacks anyone who says anything to reduce the credibility of organic produce.

The other is a group of people claiming that organic produce isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I refuse to accept that special interest groups are going to give me the straight scoop, which is why I put little stock in anything Monsanto chemical corporation puts out as well as what a group like the Organic Trade Association publishes.

Perhaps you can point us to a neutral source for information? Someone without ties to "green" groups or chemical corporations?
 

Drew Pattison
Junior Member
Username: Droopy

Post Number: 58
Registered: 06-2003
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 04:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here's a link to the USDA's National Organic Program website. It has info regarding certification, standards, and regulation...

http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/indexIE.htm
 

Hedgie Bartol
Junior Member
Username: Hedgieb

Post Number: 90
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 05:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Boy! I didn't mean to start such a debate... healthy I hope!

For me, the bottom line is much the same as anything else, DO THE RESEARCH AND DECIDE FOR YOURSELF. For example, using aluminum brew pots...
 

Steve Funk
Junior Member
Username: Tundra45

Post Number: 87
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 06:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Just another bit of info about municipal sewage sludge. This material has been treated and basically poses no threat from organic contaminants. But, there is a concentrating effect of non-organic pollutants such as heavy metals. I consulted for a farmer in Georgia who used sludge from a local waste treatment plant for years as fertilizer. Guess what, now the soil and ground water show higher concentrations of several heavy metal species. Environmental regulatory agencies have mandated that no crops of any kind be grown there until remediation has reduced the contamination. Now, the farmer is suing the waste treatment plant that provided the sludge.

Steve
Stevenson, WA
All and all, it's only about the beer.
 

Heath
Member
Username: Frizedo

Post Number: 183
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 09:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I can say that the regulation part is better than most of the rest of the farming industry. Detailed records of all practices are required and we had an annual inspection where they looked at all aspects of the farm.

Geez was it with a computer they wrote this down? They have a delete button Im assuming? Or in pencil maybe cause I think those have erasers.

Sure there are going to be those that will try to get around the rules, and the national organic program is probably another underfunded government agency unable to police their rules as well as they would like, but I really don't see why you want to condemn the whole organic industry for that.

Really? maybe that was the point of my comments? Generalizing makes the world go round. If it wasnt for people like me all the injustices in world would never be questioned. I dont base a absolute knowledge on a couple experiences and some political propoganda

Heath
 

Miker
Member
Username: Miker

Post Number: 211
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 02:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Joshua, if I remember correctly the National Organic Standards were based on an earlier report done by the National Academy of Sciences, a well respected, and generally unbiased organization, but I can't seem to locate that report. This is a link to one publication they did on alternative agriculture back in 1989. Most of their publications are a lot to wade through so don't know how useful they would be to someone looking for an overview.

http://www.nap.edu/books/0309039851/html/index.html

Attra is a good source for organic farming info, but they are hardly a neutral source.

http://www.attra.org/

Sorry, I don't know of a good site for the view you are looking for.

Heath and BBB,
I didn't mean to start a small battle with you or anyone else. Obviously this is a subject I get fired up about, but its probably not the best place to discuss it all. I think I'll go back to discussing brewing and hopefully we can all share some good info as fellow brewers.
 

Heath
Member
Username: Frizedo

Post Number: 185
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 09:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

NP miker!! There was no name calling, just a heated disscussion and a thread tangent hijack.

Heath
 

Mark Tigges
Intermediate Member
Username: Mtigges

Post Number: 306
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 04:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you want health(y/ier) produce, buy from farmers markets. Any negative affect of use of pesticide is vastly insignifigant compared to the produce having been picked days ago. Buy local buy fresh.

Oh, and I think it's Connie who mentioned his wife is into homeopathy. Does she realize what homeopathy really is? I have a hard time believing any rational person would buy into that. It's just the worst sort of hucksterism preying on peoples insecurities about health and their naivete about cause and effect.