Albert’s Organics, headquartered in Santa Cruz, CA, is in the process of preparing for relocations of two of its U.S. facilities, according to Simcha Weinstein, director of marketing for the company.
“We are moving our Bridgeport, New Jersey, facility to a new building in the same city,” said Mr. Weinstein. “This strategic move will double our current space and put us in position to both increase our productivity and prepare us for future growth.”
Albert’s Organics’ Colorado facility is also relocating. This move, which is in conjunction with the company’s parent company, UNFI, will enable it to upgrade its organic banana rooms, and to support its customer growth.
“In both instances the distribution centers are moving only a couple miles away and in the same town,” said Mr. Weinstein. “The Colorado division is in Aurora, and it will remain there. Both relocations were due simply to the fact that we have outgrown the current facilities and we needed to build new spaces to accommodate our growing needs and demands.”
Mr. Weinstein said that in recent years the discussion of locally grown food has gained momentum. He referenced a 2007 article in Time magazine headlined “Local vs. Organic,” which highlighted the debate between the two, explaining the benefits of both organically raised food as well as the benefits of local food.
“Since this article, organic and local have been pitted against one another, at least by the media, as if somehow they are competing food choices, and only one option will ultimately rule the day,” he said. “This creates a false choice for the consumer. Buying both local and organic food is optimal and certainly achievable in many areas of the country.”
He pointed out that organic food production is regulated by the government, but there is no standard or definition of what legally constitutes locally grown food, at least not yet.
“If ever it happens, it could mean that it comes from just around the corner,” said Mr. Weinstein. “It could also mean that it comes from somewhere within the state. As a general rule, a frequently used standard for locally grown is food that is raised within a 150-mile radius from where it is being sold.
“There is also the concept of regionally grown,” he continued. “If you live in New Jersey and buy corn that is raised in eastern Maryland, it’s not exactly local. But, it does come from the same mid-Atlantic growing region and is typically preferred by consumers in that area over corn that was raised [on] the other side of the country.”
As local becomes popular, and because the media tends to discuss it alongside organic, there seems to be a tendency for the two to become confused with one another. It’s not at all an uncommon assumption for shoppers to believe that food that is grown locally is also organic. Mr. Weinstein said this is a huge perception problem and one that is easily confounded by the fact that so much of the food you see at local farmers markets is labeled as organic. But organic and local are not the same, and just because something is grown locally does not mean that it is raised using organic farming methods.
Ideally, he said, the optimal food system is when food is both local and organic.