SHERMAN, TX – Organic farming has become the fastest growing sector of the agriculture industry, as one local farmer is experiencing firsthand.
In fact, according to the Organic Farmers Research Foundation, organic production has increased by 20 percent each year for the past decade.
It's a trend that's causing more and more farms to sprout up all over the nation, and Family Farms in Sherman is no exception.
When it put down its roots just three years ago, it provided fresh goods to about 25 families. Now, the farm produces enough organic crops to supply several hundred customers, and it's not just hunger that consumers are looking to cure.
"We actually have a couple of doctors now that are telling their oncology patients to come out here and get the food and start eating it as part of their health regimen, while they're on cancer treatments," said Foster Fogarty, who runs the farm.
He says organic farming isn't just about what doesn't go into the product. He uses farm animals to fertilize the ground and kill pests, and even uses recycled goods to enrich the soil.
"About 40 percent of the soil in our beds is organic matter that we've added, and it just creates a lot better environment for the plant, makes them more drought resistant, pest resistant and disease resistant," Fogarty said.
Elizabeth Hutchings shops organic. She says the healthier choice isn't always the easiest option.
"If you stop to think about what you're eating and how a lot of things are made, and put together, you would go, ‘yeah, I don't think I would eat that,' but we do, just because of convenience and stuff, and pricewise," she said.
But for Hutchings, the benefits of natural food outweigh the cost.
"When you're looking at how much less you're going to go to the doctor and how much less you're going to be sick, it's really worth the money," Hutchings said.
The good news is local farmers, like Fogarty, are driving down those costs and contributing to the flourishing industry.
Fogarty says November and December are the busiest months of the year, as families stock up for their holiday spreads.
Crops at the Family Farm have been so bountiful this year that there’s enough surplus to share with local nonprofits and food pantries.
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