Ready Pac Raises Awareness on the Threat to Organic Spinach
IRWINDALE, CA – Ready Pac Foods, Inc. sponsored a symposium hosted by The United Vegetable Growers Cooperative on the sustainability of organic spinach. The event spotlighted the threat of Downy Mildew to organic spinach to help raise awareness in the industry.
The invasion of Downy Mildew has stopped growers from meeting consumer need this season despite overplanting by 10-30%, according to a press release. Currently, organic spinach yields are down 50% with predictions that the situation will worsen.
Even with fungicides available to treat Downy Mildew for conventional spinach, there is no known solution for the organic spinach. The mildew on one leaf of spinach can yield 10,000 spores that become airborne and spread to nearby crops. It is increasing in some of the largest growing regions in the U.S., including the Salinas Valley in California and Yuma, Arizona, according to a press release.
Panelists at the symposium warn that options to treat Downy Mildew on organic spinach are limited and will take time.
To counter the spread in the short term, growers can increase the acreage used for their spinach crops to prevent spreading. Unfortunately, it can take 3 years to have new organic ground certified. Possibly the best long-term option would be to find new resistant seeds, but that can take over a decade.
Overall, the symposium concluded that current conditions will likely continue, and solutions cannot come quickly enough.
In efforts to keep consumers safe and well-informed, Ready Pac is eager to continue its work with The United Vegetable Growers Cooperative and its efforts to raise awareness and help end this spinach threat.