It took us seven years, but we started to check out organic farms this spring. Now that my son is old enough to eat solids, my wife and I are determined to minimize his exposure to chemicals. We were pleasantly surprised to find that there were more local options than we thought.
We first ordered from De Run Wu (德润屋生态农场), a farm in Changping. You can order and pay online at their new bilingual website (www.bjchano.com). We loved their greens, and their homemade tofu. Prices are reasonable, averaging around RMB 10 per jin without delivery fee.
Inspired by this first success, we tried the big kid on the block: TooToo Organic Farm (沱沱工社有机食品) near Pinggu. Owned by a NASDAQ-listed Chinese company, it has its own cold chain distribution, and has organic certifications from China’s COFCC and Europe’s Ecocert.
We took advantage of a blue sky day to visit TooToo’s farm. Alex had fun grabbing leafy greens and staring at a wobbly 4-day-old lamb snuggling with its mom. The farm’s bilingual website (shop.tootoo.cn)is definitely the best I’ve seen in Beijing. The organic selection is huge, with generally reasonable prices, a professional delivery team, and excellent-tasting produce.
Our chief reason for buying organic is environmental safety, not better nutrition. In a 2012 report, the American Academy of Pediatrics found that “organic diets have been convincingly demonstrated to expose consumers to fewer pesticides … Organic farming has been demonstrated to have less environmental impact than conventional approaches. However, current evidence does not support any meaningful nutritional benefits or deficits from eating organic.”
Given the increasingly scary data about chemicals, we’re doing everything possible to limit our family’s exposure to heavy metals, pesticides, and who knows what else.
I follow the “trust but verify” doctrine; I would definitely choose farm A over farm B if it could prove to me that its soil, water, and products are independently tested to be free of hazards. I’ve seen some of this data from TooToo and another farm called Shared Harvest (www.sharedharvest.cn).
There’s a new wave of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms, most of whom are now members of the Beijing Organic Farmers’ Market. Other farms that my wife and I plan to check out include:
Organic Farm 有机农庄 (www.organicfarm.com.cn)
Organic and Beyond 北京市密云东绍渠镇 (www.oabc.cc)
Noah Organic 诺亚农业 (www.noahorganic.com)
Green Cow Farm 绿牛有机农庄 (www.greencowfarm.com)
Little Donkey 小毛驴市民农园 (www.littledonkeyfarm.com)
Sanfendi 三分地有机农场 (www.3fendi.cn)
Photos: suzette suzette and jessloss (Flickr)