Coming Full Circle

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Elizabeth Thompson

Elizabeth Thompson › Elizabeth Thompson is a writer and photographer. She lives in Alaska with her husband and their ...


I planted my first apple tree when I was eight and named it after my pediatric dentist, who I had a crush on, E. Julian Caldwell. I loved that tree and it grew to be quite a beautiful and prolific specimen, bearing red and green striped apples, crisp and tart, that everyone in the neighborhood enjoyed and no one in my family remembers the name of.

E. Julian Caldwell’s fruits not only gave us the best apple butter EVER, but also brought us closer to our grumpy neighbor. He loved to feed them to our yellow lab, Barnaby, who could not get enough of them yet could not quite reach the fruit from his run.

When my parent’s sold the house the new owners mercilessly murdered E. Julian Caldwell, not wanting to deal with the rotting bounty under his glorious spreading limbs and not owning an apple loving lab. I think of that tree often; my family eats a lot of apples.

Fast-forward forty years and find me horrified by the news that apples are listed as the most pesticide-laden type of produce on the market today. The news got worse, the tests were done on samples considered “ready to eat,” meaning that they had already been washed and peeled. I live in Alaska and the organic produce available at my local market is… limited. What to do?

Enter Full Circle:

We answer the call for easy access to clean, certified organic food grown without harmful toxins, genetically modified seeds or grains—food that is both safe and flavorful… From ranchers without the marketplace to share their exceptional meats (but with generations of sustainable farming experience), to established growers flying under the radar when it comes to their mission and story (but nonetheless, intent on quality and integrity) we are not just one farm, or one family. We are a growing community of concerned farmers, producers, and eaters that wants to change our food system and believe that together we can.

As a test I called one of their farmers, an apple grower! Janice and Paul Madden are farming Paul’s family orchard on the banks of the Columbia River. A fourth generation farmer, Paul has joined forces with Bruce Henne (a businessman dedicated to raising awareness about organic family farmers), and his childhood friend Ted Goehry, who grew-up on and now owns the small orchard down the road. They run Earth Conscious Organics and are one of Full Circle’s suppliers. Janice Madden answered the phone and apologized for the prohibitive cost of shipping to Alaska, but suggested I look into Full Circle. She said, “They are really great. They really care about the farmers, they are the most loyal buyer we have ever worked with. They always pay on time and they pay fair prices to the farmer.”

Enough said. Sold. I am now a very happy member of The Full Circle Family. I get my box on Wednesdays and am filled with inspiration and warm-feelings as I gently unpack my 100% certified organic, pesticide-free and consistently beautiful produce.

Full Circle serves areas in Washington, Alaska, and Idaho. They will be in Oregon soon, and launch in the San Francisco Bay Area in May!

Check them out at

What’s your favorite local source for produce?

Photo Credit: Full Circle