Local Certified Organic Farms Part of National Survey

HARRISBURG PA – Eighteen U.S. certified organic farms and ranches in Montgomery, Berks, and Chester counties are among thousands currently being surveyed by the federal Agriculture Department. It hopes to collect information that will track the seemingly explosive growth in local, state, and national sales of certified organic products, the department said.

The survey completed in 2019 showed U.S. certified organic producers nationwide sold a total of $9.93 billion in products, up 31 percent over 2016 levels. The current survey intends to “help determine if that type of growth has been sustained,” writes King Whetstone, director of the Northeastern regional field office for the department’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Certified organic farms that produce both crops and livestock are highly specialized and must meet rigorous federal standards to earn certification. Local certified producers listed in the department’s Organic Integrity database include:

  • In western Montgomery County, Snouts and Sprouts LLC, Pottstown; Jack’s Farm LLC, Pottstown; True Vine Organics LLC, Collegeville; Sarahsway Breeding Farm LLC, Gilbertsville; and All Holding Company LLC, Harleysville;
  • In eastern Berks County, Wild Fox Provisions LLC, Barto; Wild Fox Farm LLC, Barto; Michael Nolt, Birdsboro; Birdsboro Kosher Farms, Birdsboro; Riverview Organics, Birdsboro; GoodWest Industries LLC, Douglassville; Vernon N. Burkholder, Oley; VAE LLC, Oley; and Oley Valley Organics, Oley; and
  • In northern Chester County, Kimberton Hills Dairy, Kimberton; Seven Stars Farm Inc., Phoenixville; Kimberton CSA, Phoenixville; and On Call Gourmet LLC, Phoenixville.

The survey was mailed to producers during February, and their results were expected to be returned as online entries this month (April 2022). Aggregated survey results are anticipated to be published Dec. 15.

For certified producers and their partners, the survey in part documents acreage, production, and sales, as well as production and marketing practices. It should assist those in the business to increase their output, avoid pitfalls, and more effectively supply products to buyers.

It benefits consumers too, by helping improve the quality and abundance of what reaches their dining tables. The survey occasionally also turns up new products that certified producers show are either popular now or have a good chance of becoming popular in the future. That helps to increase diners’ variety.

Pennsylvania plays an important role in the survey, because the state Agriculture Department reports it rates third place in the nation in organic sales. The commonwealth is host to 1,055 certified organic farms and more than 93,000 acres of certified organic land.

According to state officials Pennsylvania ranks first among 50 states in organic livestock and poultry sales, with $449 million; first in organic egg sales, $104 million; first in organic mushroom sales, $77 million; and eighth in organic milk sales, $65 million.

Photo by Kenny Eliason via Unsplash, used under license