After a successful sit down with Italian fashion photographer Fabio Chizzola we find out how he ended growing organic apples in upstate New York.
Eco Hustler: Tell use a little about yourself , where are you from originally?
Fabio: I'm from Rome, and I came to the States in 1993 as a photo assistant. Started my photography career in 1995. Love NY, Love my family, Love photography, Love farming.
Eco Hustler: How did you end up owning an apple orchard in Upstate New York?
Fabio: I used to rock climb, and the area is famous for rock climbing at the Gunks. So we started to come upstate and eventually started to look for a home. After 9/11 we were seriously looking for a house. When we came across this property, something touched my heart.......maybe the stone house, maybe the apple orchard.....or maybe the fact that i saw a lot of opportunities in the property. I could actually own a piece of land with a 1770's stone house and 50-60 years old apple trees, kind of historic......and naive.
Eco Hustler: Why did you choose to grow organic as apposed to non-organic apples?
Fabio: We are all about organic food and WE think that the future will be Organic and Local, so it was kind of an easy decision.
The trees, in 2002, hadn't been sprayed for several years, so we were already half way organic. It's more expensive and risk taking the organic way, but i wouldn't see any other way. Pick an apple from the tree and eat it as it is without worrying of any pesticide.
Eco Hustler: How long did take to be certified as an organic grower including the time it took to grow your first organic apple?
Fabio: We are Certified Naturally Grown, but not Certified Organic. Being Certified Organic is starting not to mean so much anymore, because is becoming such a huge business, and large corporations are dictating and changing the rules in their favor. Example: CNG requires at least 50 feet from a conventionally sprayed field, CO requires just 20 feet.
CNG took a month, because your farm gets inspected from another CNG farmer, so it's very fast. To grow my first organic apple took 6 years of hard work.
Eco Hustler: What advice would you offer to a non-green person?
Fabio: Well, we are all responsible for our choices, from what we buy at the grocery store to a clothing store. We DO have a choice. I would summarize it in one word.........CONSCIOUSNESS.