Friday, April 10, 2009
Whatever happened to Walnut Acres?
Does anyone on our e-list remember Walnut Acres Farm? I am not referring to the mass produced organic processed food that can be bought in many stores with the name Walnut Acres but the farm in Penns Creek, PA. When I was a kid my mother used to go to their bulk food store. It was the first organic bulk food store in the USA. In addition, they grew a lot of what they sold. Walnut Acres farm was started by Paul and Betty Keene in 1940s. They actually got their inspiration to farm organically from Ralph Borsodi at the School of Living (the same organization that holds the land in trust at Ahimsa). In 1946 the Keene's bought a run-down farm (with no electricity or running water) and started farming and selling their produce locally. Word got out and the business grew into one of the most successful mail-order food companies in the country. Things changed after Betty died in 1987 and Paul turned the business over to his daughter and her husband. They felt pushed to get big or get out and cut a deal with AOL founder David Cole who invested $4 million in the business. This was the end of an era, the new corporate owners decided that they needed to go big and go online and that the original farm was actually a burden. They sold off the farm, muzzled the original owners, and kept the logo and corporate name. I learned all this from an informative article I stumbled across online, it outlines the whole sad history of Walnut Acres. You can read it here (pdf).
Posted by Ahimsa Village at 7:22 PM
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Wow, that's a really sad story! As a younger person, the first time that I remember seeing the Walnut Acres logo was on a bottle of apple juice that a friend bought for my son in 2007. Her parents had started an organic peanut butter business in the 70's (which they sold to the workers in 1999, I think)and probably she learned to trust the logo from them. I suppose I'll have to mention this story to her the next time we get together. :(
I recently tried to look them up and I can't believe they have reduced themselves to juices, soups and sauces!! I used to be on the pantry plan back in the mid-1990s. My two, now grown up with kids of their own, daughters were raised on WA products. They had the best Ghee and peanut butter EVER! Plus 100s of other items. The soups alone - jeez there were at least 40 different soups!
I am completely bummed!
I am actually terrified that the real Walnut Acres farm in Pennsylvania seems to have disappeard. If you did not own your own farm and produce your own food by the 1980's OR purchase as much of your food as possible from WalnutAcres in Pennslyvania, you would not know what quality beef or chicken is and so the vast majority of people in both North America do not know what quality to expect and demand of modern farms, and groceries. They are who we should fear enough to overcome them some way.
We should not need to fear people who do not knwo what quality to demand from our groceries and farms, but when they are the majority who cannot be overruled by those who prefer more definte taste, like black bean soup with no fish added in, or even fish flavor, and beef franks with no small bone chips, and beef that tastes so beef that there is no other more flavorful beef that what I found at Walnut Acres, unless it is served at the ranch, fresh from the freezer or round-up then we have such a huge problem that I am very concerned. So concerned that if anyone else is too, please lets get together and renew the Walnut Acres farm in Pennsylvania.
I raised my son on the healthy foods from WA. I miss their foods! I was a regular and had shipments coming semi-monthly. My son is grown and I just had to look them up. The result is so sad. Greed for a dollar has definitely not been kind to our world.
Post a Comment