Certified Organic Farming
"Certified Organic" vs "Certified Naturally Grown" vs "Grown using Organic Methods"
There are 2 certifications famers may obtain, but 3 methods of growing that designate their growing practices within their respective states. These allow them to label their garlic in a manner that assures the buyer of how each bulb is taken care of from start to finish.
Certified Organic (CO) is a designation given by the USDA. It’s a Federal Program and therefore is fairly expensive and intensive, but allows each farmer to price their garlic at the highest market level. They evaluate each of the farms practices and techniques throughout all facets of the planting processes. For example, but not limited to, they conduct water and soil tests, and document where their fertilizer or compost is purchased. There are many other requirements that you can find on the USDA website. It's a great organization and holds all farmers, producers and manufacturers to the highest of standards.
Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) is a non-profit national organization that adheres to the same principles as CO. This method is a less costly way to obtain a certification. They too seek documentation for all of the above in regard to purchasing, testing, planting techniques, and future planning. However, they are able to keep your certification costs down by using farmers within CNG network to perform the inspections and creating reports. This is another great organization that can help you elevate your organic practices and market prices simultaneously.
OnPoint Organics has obtained the designation of "Certified Naturally Grown" in 2017. For us, it's the best way to get on par with the largest national farms and keep our costs down. It allows us to be known as a farm in conscious about our processes and our products.
Non-certified or "grown using natural or organic practices" is the last of the three farming methods used. These farms are not required to provide documentation on their farming processes such as not using pesticides and / or non-conforming materials and techniques. These farms are typically smaller and do not get premium prices for their garlic. This is a great method for beginning famers.