Your Frequently Asked Questions
- What is organic?
- How is an orchard certified to harvest organic fruit?
- Does Stemilt apply wax to organic apples?
- How does Stemilt prevent co-mingling of conventional and organic fruit at its packing facility?
- How do I know my fruits are indeed organic?
- I spotted a white residue on the stem bowl of my organic apples or organic pears. What is it?
- Do stickers on your fruit compromise the fruit’s organic status?
What is organic?
Organic refers to the way agriculture products (food and fiber) are grown and packed. To certify our products as organic, we maintain and replenish soil by using non-synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. We do this for three consecutive years before achieving certification. Outside the farm, organic products are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, and there are stringent rules for handling organic fruit to maintain its integrity.
How is an orchard certified to harvest organic fruit?
The USDA governs the National Organic Program and you must have a current organic certificate to be a producer of organic fruit. The USDA (or any-like state agency) does an annual inspection of your orchard to issue this certification. To achieve organic status, it takes three consecutive crop seasons of farming an orchard organically.
Does Stemilt apply wax to organic apples?
No, we don’t apply wax to organic apples. However, organic apples may appear waxed! How can that be? Any Artisan Organic™ apple that looks like it has been waxed has actually re-waxed itself with the natural (cuticular) wax that it comes off the tree with. We wash this natural wax off during the packing process, but the apple re-waxes to protect itself both from moisture loss and dehydration. It’s very common and occurs when apples are kept out of refrigeration for too long. This natural wax does not alter the flavor and is completely safe to consume. We always recommend washing the fruit prior to eating and in this case, most of the natural wax can be washed off with mild soap/vinegar and warm water.
How does Stemilt prevent co-mingling of conventional and organic fruit at its packing facility?
Just like the farm, organic packing facilities must also be inspected annually to achieve an organic certificate from the USDA. At Stemilt, organic bins are clearly marked at the time of receiving. We also don’t pack organic and conventional on the same line at the same time. This ensures organic fruit gets packed according to organic packing standards and is identified correctly in its final packaging.
How do I know my fruits are indeed organic?
Any of our organic products will be packed under our Artisan Organics™ label. Also, if the sticker on your fruit has a leading “9” before the four digits, it is organic.
I spotted a white residue on the stem bowl of my organic apples or organic pears. What is it?
This is Kaolin clay, a natural material that we apply to protect organic apples and pears from getting sunburned. Yup, even fruit can get sunburned! The clay reflects the sun preventing the burn. It’s usually washed off the fruit during packing but some residue can be left behind in the stem/bottom ends of the fruit, where the brushes don’t reach.
Do stickers on your fruit compromise the fruit’s organic status?
Nope! While they aren’t organic, the stickers are not intended for consumption and therefore do not compromise the organic status. The label material and food contact grade adhesive used is compliant with the USDA’s Food and Drug Act.