Archive for June, 2009

Organic Trade Association announces 2009-2010 Board and officers

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Congratulations, Uncle Matt!

GREENFIELD, Mass. (June 9,, 2009)—Julia Sabin of Smucker Natural Foods, Inc., has been re-elected by the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) Board of Directors to continue as its President for the coming year.

Other officers for 2009-2010 are Matt McLean of Uncle Matt’s Organics, Inc.,Vice President – U.S.A.; Hélène Bouvier of Organic Ranchers, Inc., Vice President—Canada; Todd Linsky, Cal-Organic/Grimmway Farms, Secretary; and Chuck Marcy, Healthy Food Holdings, LLC, Treasurer.

In the recent OTA Board of Directors election, OTA trade member companies elected the following: Nicole Dawes of Late July Organic Snacks, Kelly Shea of WhiteWave Foods, Craig Weakley of Small Planet Foods, Inc., and Tom Cowell of Growers International Organic Sales, Inc. Cowell fills a Canadian seat on the board.

In addition, the OTA Board of Directors selected Todd Linsky to fill a three-year appointed term.

Other members on the board include Tony Bedard of Frontier Natural Products Co-op, Sarah Bird of Annie’s, Inc., Jack Erisman of Goldmine Farms, Theresa Marquez of Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, Marty Mesh of Florida Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc./Quality Certification Services, and Melody Meyer of Albert’s Organics.

Going off the board with the completion of their terms are Lynn Clarkson of Clarkson Grain Company, Dag Falck of Nature’s Path Foods, Inc., and Phil Margolis of Neshaminy Valley Natural Foods Distributor, Ltd.

The results of the election will be shared with members at OTA’s Annual Meeting to be held Wednesday, June 17, at 7:45 a.m. at All Things Organic Conference and Trade Show and OTA Member Days, Lakeside Center, McCormick Place, in Chicago, IL.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy (www.ota.com).

Uncle Matt’s Anniversary news cited in Natural Foods Merchandiser

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Uncle Matt’s Organic celebrates 10 years in the organic orange juice business this year, and Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine was kind enough to pick this bit of ‘juicy’ news up! Click below to see the feature.

Natural Foods Merchandiser article

Uncle Matt’s featured in Florida Trend

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

‘A Better Way to Farm’

by Diane Sears

“I think you’ll see organic continue to grow 10% to 15% if we can see research to show consumers the health benefits.”

— Organic farmer Matt McLean
on the industry’s annual rate of growth

Nearly 15 years ago, a phone call from a German customer seeking organic grapefruit juice sent then-citrus exporter Matt McLean on a quest to find out why it wasn’t available in most U.S. grocery stores.Today, McLean operates the state’s largest organic citrus operation. Uncle Matt’s, based in Clermont in Lake County, is celebrating its 10th anniversary, capitalizing on a trend that has seen sales of organic agricultural products jump from $1 billion nationally in 1990 to $20 billion in 2007.

The industry still has plenty of room for growth, McLean says. According to the Organic Trade Association, a group on which McLean serves as national vice president, only 2.8% of all U.S. food and beverage sales involve products grown organically. McLean’s company, like others in the industry, has recorded average growth of 15% to 20% per year, compared with 3% to 5% for conventional agricultural products.

A fourth-generation citrus grower who worked in the groves as a child, McLean has returned to the ways his grandfather and great-grandfather grew fruit before pesticides were readily available. When McLean started his company, his grandfather advised him to think about how to begin with healthy soil and healthy trees that can fight off pests without chemical interference.

Uncle Matt’s now owns about 500 groves and manages another 500 that are owned by other growers dedicated to organic practices. He employs 12 full time, including his parents. His brother and brother-in-law work there part time.

Uncle Matt’s sells the oldest brand of organic orange juice in the country. Because the products cost more than non-organic food, they are a tough sell during challenging times, McLean admits.

“At times we feel like we’re not-for-profit,” he says. “But we have a mission and a vision we stay true to. We think it’s a better way to farm.”

Source: Florida Trend Magazine