By Malinda Geisler, content specialist, AgMRC, Iowa State University.
Revised March 2012.
According to USDA, certified organic means "agricultural products have been grown and processed according to specific standards of various state and private certification organizations." Certifying agents review farm applications and qualified inspectors conduct annual on-site inspections. Farm records track all management practices and materials used in organic production.
Except for operations with gross agricultural incomes of $5,000 or less, USDA-accredited certifying agents must certify farm and processing operations that grow and process organic foods. A certified operation must have a written Organic Farm Plan made available to the public upon request. The USDA Organic Seal may appear on organic apples and other 100 percent organic products, signs or advertising.
Current Trends in Organic Tree Fruit Production, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2002 - This document presents organic tree fruit acreages in Washington State along with national and international estimates.
Fresh Market Apples, Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA, 2005 - This report reviews the fresh apple market in the United States.
Organic Production Survey, U.S. Census of Agriculture, USDA, 2008.
- Alternative Markets for Fruit: Organic and IFP (Integrated Fruit Production), Washington State University, Wanatchee - This document reviews two major market niches, organic foods and fruit, from Integrated Fruit Production.
- Consumers Willing to Pay a Premium for Organic Produce, Amber Waves, ERS, USDA, 2009.
- Fruits and Tree Nuts, ERS, USDA - This government portal provides general information and statistics on the U.S. fruits and nut tree industries.
- Integrated Pest Management, University of Vermont Apple Orchard.
- Marketing Organic Apples Successfully, University of California-Davis, Small Farm Center, 1998 - This online page provides an overview to selling organic apples such as costs, processing and certification.
- National Fruit and Vegetable Organic Summary, Ag Marketing Service, USDA - Provides terminal market prices, shipping point prices and retail prices for certain organic fruits and vegetables.
- Organic Demand: A Profile of Consumers in the Fresh Produce Market, Choices magazine, 2007 - This article did not find positive association between household income and expenditures on organic produce.
- Organic Farming and Marketing, ERS, USDA - This site provides a wealth of statistics related to organic products.
- Organic Price Report, Rodale Institute - This online tool tracks selected prices from the fruit, vegetable, herbs and grain sectors, comparing organic prices to conventional prices in markets across the country.
- PlantFacts, Ohio State University - This Web site provides a full-text search engine of all extension and academic department information from all land-grant universities in the United States. Additionally, there are significant image and video databases, an FAQ database, and a glossary.
- Virtual Orchard - This site is dedicated to sustainable apple production. It provides marketing and production information for commercial growers.
- Making Hard Cider, Cornell University - This site gives a brief lesson on how to make hard cider at home.
- Apples: Organic Production Guide, ATTRA, National Sustainable Ag Information Service, 2011 - This publication focuses on the aspects of organic apple production that differ from nonorganic practices—primarily pest and disease control, marketing and economics.
- Characteristics of Conventional and Organic Apple Production in the United States, ERS, USDA, 2011 - This report uses data from USDA’s 2007 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and other sources to examine trends in the U.S. apple sector and compare production and marketing characteristics under organic and conventional farming systems.
- Considerations in Organic Apple Production, Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA), NCAT, 2001 - This 24-page online organic guide reviews differences in organic systems between the East Coast and West Coast of the United States.
- Growing Organic Apples: World class production systems for new Australian apple varieties, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Australia, 2008 - This organic apple production guide details strategies for successful organic production of scab-resistant apples in Australia.
- OrganicA, A resource for organic apple production - This is a multi-disciplinary, multi-state project to enhance adoption of organic practices and to improve the competitiveness of organic apple producers.
- Organic and Integrated Fruit Production, Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Education Center - This Web site provides resources related to integrated and organic fruit production.
- Organic Apple Production Manual, University of California - This manual includes guidelines useful for apple growers considering organic production and certification. Visit the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources online catalog to order.
- Organic Apple Spray Schedule, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
- Planning the Organic Orchard, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) - This fact sheet is written for the commercial tree fruit grower in the Upper Midwest planning at least one half-acre of orchard.
- Ela Family Farms, Hotchkiss, Colorado - For four generations, this family has grown fruit in western Colorado. They converted the farm to certified organic production in 1994. Current organic crops include tree fruits like apples, cherries, peaches and pears as well as organic strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.
- Muhlbeier Orchards, Eltopia, Washington - This family-run farm raises organic fuji apples. Apples are shipped in boxes directly to consumers.
- Rocky Mountain Fruit, western Colorado - Offers tree-ripened, certified organic apples and pears from several family farms. Fruit is shipped in 10-pound gift boxes.
Links checked July 2013.