cause I represented a business. However, once I wrote a book, I was considered an authority on organic food
and organic cooking. They would announce me as “Myra Goodman, author of Food to Live By, who founded
Earthbound Farm.” All of a sudden, I
was getting a lot more large press opportunities because I was an author
and expert, and that has been really
great for Earthbound Farm, too.
be sure that it was as safe as possible. Although the spinach involved in the incident
was from a farm we co-packed for and was not organic or the Earthbound Farm
brand, this incident inspired us to make sure that every step was taken to ensure
safety, so we developed a process where our produce is tested for pathogens at several stages. Inputs such as seed, water and fertilizers are tested, then the product is
tested at the processing plant before it’s packaged and yet again after it’s packaged.
Organic is about producing food that’s safe for people and the environment, and
so we felt it was necessary to safeguard our consumers’ health in this way as well.
From a consumer perspective, I don’t know if they know as much as we would
OP: Earthbound is expanding beyond produce—can you tell me about this?
Goodman: When you get to be our
size and almost everything you’re selling is highly perishable, it’s a difficult
business. Also, we grow extra of many
crops in case demand goes up or a
crop is destroyed. Thus, adding some
less perishable products helps balance
the production from our farms and
reduce the price, which is important
for organic. Having prepared food
products when you’re vertically integrated gives you an advantage, so we
are adding some dried fruits, juices,
salad dressings and purées—products
that utilize fresh produce or complement our produce items. Right now,
we’re doing a lot of consumer testing
and working on a brand refresh. We
are hoping to roll these out this fall.
OP: In 2006, one of the growers you co-packed for was part of the E. coli spinach
contamination incident. Today, Earthbound is one of the most respected food
safety leaders in the industry. How has
this affected your brand?
Goodman: I think we survived the E.
coli outbreak because we were always a
leader in food safety. We had already
gone 20 years without an incident.
People knew that if it could happen to
us, it could happen to anybody. Even
the best practices in produce at the
time were not enough to ensure food
safety, though. As soon as this happened, we didn’t ever want to sell another package of salad if we couldn’t