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Josiah's Field Inspector Notes & Photos

I just visited Ron Cottle, one of the better conventional and "emerging organic" growers (and long-time vendor/partner with Whole Foods Market) in Eastern North Carolina and took a bunch of pictures to share. He is just about wrapped-up with organic and conventional blueberries and is just now starting his blackberry harvest (they're awesome!), and in about 8 to 10 days will be full-speed ahead with his organic grape tomatoes.

This block of about 10 contiguous acres just came to full organic certification this season, and he's pretty excited about it. If this particular organic tomato project really takes off, he is contemplating tripling the acreage over the next few seasons. The blossom-sets (number of flowers that will emerge as fruit) and the 1st fruit-sets (pictured as green and breaking red) are pretty abundant, they will be packing a big ol' bunch of tomatoes soon. The brand spankin' new organic-certified pack-line will get a thorough workout this season for sure. Also pictured (because they're on the back side of the tomato block, across a pasture) are his hormone-free bison (his "personal herd", so I was told). All of the organic fruit and vegetable culls are dump-trucked over to these buffalo...apparently they're quite fond of cucumber, bell-pepper and day-old strawberries...who knew? Josiah Leet started with Whole Foods Market in 1993 and has been a Quality Assurance Field Inspector since 2001. "Stationed" on the Eastern seaboard for the winter off-shore-vessel season, every May he begins his "road season." He covers various commodities grown and packed in South Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, New York State, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. Raised on the family farm in Pennsylvania where he first learned to drive on a tractor (a 1949 Ford 8N), Josiah has spent time on both coasts and is an avid (though admittedly amateur) surfer and a fairly decent fisherman. He also enjoys "the grilling arts" and a long weekend on the Harley. "Good food is best when served to good friends" is his motto.