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Welcome back everyone! Jen and I had a great time at the Oakland Art & Soul Festival this weekend. It was a bit overcast on Saturday but Sunday was hot and sunny and there was quite the turnout with the good weather. I want to give a shout out to Forrest M. a customer who stopped by the booth to say hello. I gave him $5 off this week’s box for saying hi. I enjoy getting to meet my customers when I get the chance. I also want to say “hello and welcome” to Tramy N. and Jessica L. who joined GGO after their Plum District deal. Thanks for supporting local business and sustainable organic famers throughout California. Actually, I thank all of you who are customers and who take the time and effort to eat organic! You are all making a difference whether you realize it or not.

Jen working our booth late Saturday night.

I am not sure if many of you know but I just recently was Honorably Discharged from the Coast Guard in July after 10 years and 2 months of service. I decided that GGO is where my heart is and that I didn’t have enough time before to devote to all of our customers. So with my saved up vacation time I was able to start working at GGO fulltime back in May, two months before our one year anniversary, and we have come a long way already in just a few short months! I will be taking advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and will be going to school in Berkeley starting in a couple weeks. This will not affect any of you as I will still be doing all the customer service and providing you only the best service and produce I know how but I wanted you all to know what I will be up to.

Important News:

I have noticed that for the last few weeks the organic bananas we have been receiving have not quite been stellar and this has been a concern of mine. Some of the bananas have had spots, some of them need to be eaten right away, and a couple of weeks ago I had to throw out an entire case because they were just nasty! I have had one or two people ask about this and I had to do some research but I was able to find out exactly what the deal is with the organic bananas.

It turns out that there are combinations of different factors that have affected this year’s banana crop. As many of you know, Wayne and I only purchase fair trade bananas and the primary source of these bananas is through Ecuador and Peru in South America. It turns out that just as the U.S. was hit with a very mild winter, which facilitated the extreme summer drought and negatively affected our corn crops; conversely, Central America was hit with an extremely harsh winter. The result: Ecuador’s banana exports alone have dropped 12% compared to last years yield. Additionally, a disease called Black Sigatoka has attacked the already weakened banana crop. The presence of the disease in Ecuador has reached heightened levels; so much so that in some places it has destroyed 30% of the crops. There are growers that lost their crops because they were unable to fertilize and fumigate their plantations. Other farmers have sold their farms to engage in other businesses like cocoa, which are more profitable. Three weeks ago a “Banana Emergency” was declared and announced by the Minister Javier Ponce. The emergency actions are expected to last eight weeks and allow growers to receive fungicides to control the disease.

Take into account that the organic fair trade bananas are most likely going to be hit even harder then the rest of the bananas since they have not been genetically modified to resist Black Sigatoka and will not be treated with synthetic chemicals. Even walking around the local grocery stores I notice the state of the organic and regular bananas and can relate that back to this crisis. With the demand not dropping and the supply in a choke hold the prices for bananas have been going up and the quality has been going down. We are all affected. I recommend subbing out bananas for the next few weeks unless you are ready to eat them right away. They may not look perfect but I assure you that they are fine to eat.

We get so caught up sometimes with what our produce looks like that we forget to ask, “Why does it look this way? How is it that this banana is perfect in the middle of a catastrophic disease?” You can always go buy Dole or Chiquita bananas that look perfect, are bright yellow and huge. However, you will taste the difference. You will be supporting corporations that pay farmers only a few cents a pound for their crop, far below the cost of production. You will be supporting corporations that violate human rights and employ children as young as eight to work on banana plantations. You will be buying genetically modified food. The choice is yours and I will respect that. I just want you to make an informed decision.

Please reach out to me anytime at either 510-982-3026 or for anything. Bad bananas? Items too ripe? Missing something? Let me know and I will fix it! Seriously! I am nice and don’t play games. I know sometimes things happen and that’s ok. It is apart of life.

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That’s all. I hope you enjoy this weeks box!

Your organic ambassador,