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Booming Business: Organic Farms See Surge in Customers

WTVO/WQRF -- With climbing grocery prices, high unemployment, and the never ceasing pain at the pump, It's been tough for our local economy to make a come back. But new federal statistics show one stateline business is raking in big bucks even though it asks consumers to pay more for their product.
WTVO/WQRF -- With climbing grocery prices, high unemployment, and the never ceasing pain at the pump, It's been tough for our local economy to make a come back. But new federal statistics show one stateline business is raking in big bucks even though it asks consumers to pay more for their product.

Andrea Hazzard shows off one of her favorite foods: bright red rhubarb. All her food is grown without chemicals, just three key ingredients.

"A little sun, some water, and a little love," said Hazzard, Owner of Hazzard Free Farms.

From free range chickens to freshly rolled oats, the organic food business is booming out at Hazzard Free Farms in Pecatonica.

"It's definitely changed over the years, and grown, and the market is changing and growing, and the demand is increasing," said Hazzard.

And a new set of statistics backs that up. The US Department of Agriculture reports sales from organic farms across Illinois have more than tripled within just five years.

"People are becoming much more aware of where their food comes from," Hazzard explained.

And for Green Fire restaurant owner, Philippe Forcioli, his business depends on only natural products.

"We try to keep the ingredients as pure as we can," said Forcioli.

That means chemical free bacon and even organic beer.

"You are what you eat, and it's important to put good things in your body," Forcioli said.

And Hazzard says what you spend in cash on quality ingredients will save you in the long run.

"Dirt cheep food has a cost to our economy, to our land, to our water, and to the health of our bodies," said Hazzard.

From 2007 to 2012, Illinois' organic farm industry raked in more than 26 million bucks. That's despite the fact that the overall number of farms in the state fell during the same period.








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