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What it Takes to Achieve Organic Certification:

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It is a long, arduous and labor-intensive process. Maps of the entire property must be provided along with an extensive breakdown of what the property was used for previously. Certain uses might disqualify a site for years if certain chemicals and/or fertilizers were used at any time. Proof must be provided that the site is secure from neighboring runoffs, fenced to exclude feral animals, etc. That could contaminate the soil or plants. Soil tests must be done to see what non-organic matter might be found.

An operating Procedure is created based off of the historical breakdown provided for the property. In this process book, every step of production must be outlined exactly. In our case, it starts with farm management and lists how we will prune, fertilize, control weeds, control pests, etc. Harvesting is outlined next with the requirement of using either brand new bags and storage containers or completely sanitizing ones that could have contained non-organic matter previously. From there, each step of processing coffee must follow strict guidelines to either be completely separated and properly labeled.

The next phase is tracking the organic coffee through each of its cycles. Throughout the processing phases, each batch must be labeled and tracked all the way through its final sale, resulting in complete traceability from just a customer receipt.

These systems are all put in place during a site inspection by the certifying organization. Once certification is approved and issued, each farm is required to participate in and pass an annual audit of the processes and records to maintain certification.