You might be wondering, “Is Azure Standard going out of business?” Let’s take a closer look. For those who haven’t heard of it, Azure Standard is a name that started making waves from a small place called Dufur. This journey began back in the early 1970s, all thanks to David Stelzer, Azure Standard’s founder and CEO, along with his family. They made a bold move by deciding not to use any more pesticides or herbicides on their farm. This was a game-changer for their crops, gardens, and orchard.
Initially, their land was struggling. After years of relying on chemicals, it was barely giving them anything to harvest. But something amazing happened when they stopped using those pesticides. Gradually, the soil began to heal and became more fertile than ever. This was the moment they shifted their focus to growing non-GMO food, which means food that’s not genetically modified. Eating more organic food did wonders for the Stelzer family’s health, and they started sharing these non-GMO goodies with others. That’s how Azure Market started to take shape.
As time went by, something big happened: people everywhere started to crave organic products. The family farm couldn’t grow enough veggies to meet this skyrocketing demand. They needed a new plan to get these healthy foods to people. And so, in 1987, Azure Standard was born. This wasn’t just a company; it was a response to a growing need for organic, healthy food.
Now, let’s dive deep into the story of Azure Standard in this article.
What Happened At Azure Standard?
Azure Standard has always been about one thing: making wholesome, organic food affordable and accessible to everyone. But they don’t just talk the talk; they walk the walk. Most of the healthy foods they offer come straight from their own farms. These farms are a treasure trove of garden seeds, plant starts for those who love gardening, and a variety of grains, beans, fresh veggies, fruits, and berries. They also raise cattle, poultry, and lambs. Think of them as a one-stop shop for all things organic.
Trouble in Organic Paradise: The Weed Control Controversy
But here’s where the plot thickens. Azure Standard, known as the world’s largest producer of organic wheat and grains, hit a major snag in Sherman County, Oregon. They’ve been accused of not doing enough to control noxious weeds in some of their wheat fields. This is serious business because it puts their organic farms and food supplies in jeopardy.
A Legal Hurdle: The Show-Cause Notice
David and Nathan Stelzer, the big names behind Azure, got a show-cause notice from the local government in Moro, Oregon. This notice wasn’t just a friendly hello; it was a summons to appear before a court meeting on May 17, 2017, with a new plan for managing those pesky weeds.
The High Stakes: Losing Organic Certification
If Azure’s organic fields are deemed non-compliant, they might be forced to use chemical treatments, like Roundup or Milestone, and foot the bill for it. This would be a massive blow, potentially stripping Azure of its prized organic certification. Imagine the impact: grocery stores across the country would lose a major source of organic, non-GMO wheat flour. And don’t forget, Moro is a key player in north-central Oregon’s dry-land wheat cultivation scene, with nearly 400,000 acres dedicated to conventional commercial wheat.
Public Outcry: The Power of Social Media
Azure didn’t take this lying down. They launched a social media campaign that rallied their customer base. Their supporters, the Azure believers, bombarded government offices with a deluge of emails and phone calls, bringing county operations to a near standstill. Many people were alarmed, thinking that the Sherman County Weed Control Board might start a chemical war against the weeds.
Community Tensions: A Cultural Divide
Yet, not everyone was cheering for Azure. Some folks in Sherman County felt Azure had crossed a line by taking this issue beyond local norms typically used to resolve disputes. This situation mirrors broader cultural conflicts in our country, especially fears about unseen corporate influences on government.
Fire Accident At The Azure Headquarters
In a startling turn of events, Azure Standard, known as the leading independent supplier of organic and healthy foods, faced a major crisis. On the night of April 18, 2022, their headquarters was engulfed in flames. Fortunately, and most importantly, there were no injuries or loss of life in this incident.
Investigating the Cause: An Accidental Fire
The Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that the fire was accidental, not intentional. The culprit? A tote of wrapped corn, stored in a cooler due to an overflow in the company’s warehouse. It seems like a small oversight, but it had big consequences.
Theories Behind the Fire
The fire chief shared two possible scenarios for how the fire might have started. One theory is that the corn, with its water content, might have spontaneously combusted. The other possibility? Corn dust could have come into contact with an electrical outlet, causing a short circuit and igniting the corn.
Moving Forward: Azure Standard’s Response
In response to this disaster, Azure Standard didn’t waste any time. They’ve already located a new site for their headquarters, about eight miles away from the original location. This new site will house their liquid production operations.
A Message from the CEO: Navigating Shortages
David Stelzer, the CEO, acknowledged that there might be some product shortages for a while. However, he reassured customers that their distributors were on the ball, working hard to restock as quickly as possible.
The Impact: What’s Affected?
Initially, it seemed that only liquids, fruit packing, and carob products were affected by this incident. Luckily, the timing meant that the fruit harvest wasn’t immediately impacted. The good news is that liquid manufacturing is set to resume soon. The big question mark remains around their carob candy, but Stelzer is optimistic about restoring this product line as swiftly as possible.
Is Azure Standard Going Out Of Business?
There’s been a buzz going around that Azure Standard might shut down. But let’s dig into the facts. In Oregon, even if you own a vast land like Azure Farms does, you’re legally bound to control the spread of any unwanted or harmful plants on your property. This is where Azure Standard found itself in a bit of a bind.
The farm faced a crucial moment when the county administration found that they weren’t meeting this requirement. They were given a 30-day ultimatum to come up with a plan to tackle and manage these troublesome weeds.
Organic Principles vs. Legal Obligations
Azure Farms, being committed to organic farming, firmly refused to use any herbicides. Instead, they came up with their own action plan. This wasn’t just about complying with the law; it was about staying true to their organic roots. After some back-and-forth, they finally submitted a weed control plan and started working closely with the county administration to find a middle ground.
Facing Challenges Similar to Local Food Groups
Azure Standard’s journey hasn’t been without its hurdles. They’ve faced challenges that many local food groups encounter. For instance, sometimes it’s tough to keep everything in stock. Orders placed 30 to 60 days in advance can lead to certain items being unavailable by the time they’re ready to ship.
Growth Pains: A Double-Edged Sword
The company’s significant growth, while a sign of success, has brought its own set of challenges. One such issue is providing immediate customer support. But it’s not all gloomy. Many customers have shared positive experiences with Azure Standard’s customer service team. These agents are known for their follow-ups after receiving emails or phone calls, ensuring that customers feel heard and helped.
In our fast-paced world, finding time to shop for high-quality organic food can be a real challenge, especially for those living in remote areas. That’s where Azure Standard shines as the ideal service. They understand the struggles of balancing a hectic lifestyle while striving to provide nutritious food for your family.
Azure Standard doesn’t just deliver organic food; they’re committed to ensuring every product is made with the purest ingredients. Their strict quality standards are a testament to this commitment. The company’s main goal isn’t just about selling food; it’s about offering nutrient-rich foods that come from healthy soil. They believe that good food should be a right, not a privilege, making it accessible and affordable for everyone who seeks it.
But Azure Standard’s impact goes beyond just the consumer. They take immense pride in supporting small, local farmers and suppliers. These are the people who need a market to sell their nutritious produce. By choosing Azure Standard, you’re not just feeding your family; you’re also helping to sustain the local farming community and encouraging the production of healthy, organic food.