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Organic trade show coming to Tahoe

Gregory Crofton
Nevada Appeal News Service

The choice was obvious for Ron Weibel after he tried organic broccoli.

“You can actually taste a big difference in it,” said Weibel, comparing it to broccoli that was not certified organic, which means pesticides and other chemicals can be used to grow it.

That was three years ago. Today Weibel, manager at Bonanza Produce Co. in South Lake Tahoe, eats only organic fruit and vegetables and is passionate enough about the industry to help organize a trade show for it.

The Tahoe Organic Trade Show and Seminar is scheduled for April 27 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the North Tahoe Community Conference Center in Kings Beach.

It is being organized by the Tahoe Regional Environmental Education program, Bonanza Produce and the Lake Tahoe South Shore Lion’s Club.

More than 20 organic businesses will display their products – things such as fruit, vegetables, coffee, meat, beer, wine, clothing and office supplies – and provide samples and organic catering for restaurant owners and the general public. Organizers are asking for a $10 donation to attend, or a $25 donation if you would like a trade show T-shirt.

“We have fantastic speakers,” said Nikki Florio, founder of the Tahoe Regional Environmental Education program and member of the Lake Tahoe South Shore Lion’s Club. “Each one of the businesses gives back to the community some way and they all are doing fine, and all of them are from different sectors of the food market.”

On average, Weibel said, organic products cost 10 to 20 percent more than conventional products.

Increasingly, Americans are willing to pay the difference. The Organic Trade Association reported sales of $12.7 billion in 2004 and a growth rate of nearly 20 percent per year over the past 12 years.