Jonathan’s expands on Fair Trade organics

11/24/2008 12:00:00 AM
Amy Fischbach

(Nov. 24, 4:54 p.m.) Jonathan’s Organic, East Freetown, Mass., is working with a new cooperative in Peru to expand its fair trade organic banana program in San Francisco.

“We want to bring more fruit in for our existing customers,” said John Musser, chief executive officer of Jonathan’s Organic. “There has been a demand for fair trade organic bananas in that area that we haven’t been able to meet.”

The company is also looking to expand its Haitian organic mango program, which runs from February through July. A large mango cooperative has been certified for fair trade in the coming season, which will help Jonathan’s import more mangos.

“Through the fair trade program, growers get paid more money, and an audit trail is created to show that their products are only handled by licensed importers and fair trade dealers,” Musser said. “This concept is beginning to get some traction in countries like Peru and Haiti.”

The company is also expanding its program in organic apples and pears from Argentina and organic apples from New Zealand. For the first time in a few years, Jonathan’s is also planning to resume importing organic mangos from Ecuador.

In other news, the company’s sprout business, called Jonathan’s Sprouts of Rochester, Mass., has been conducting research on pest control over the past six months. Bob Sanderson, president, is studying the usage of beneficial organisms to try to prevent the growth of pathogens or undesirable organisms.

“We’re doing a pilot project, and it’s showing some interesting results,” Sanderson said. “We found out that certain harmless organisms can prevent the spread of the less desirable ones. I’m anxious to take this further and do more laboratory testing.”

When the research is completed, he said the leafy green growers and organic growers will be interested in finding out new ways to prevent the infestation of crops without relying on pesticides.



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