(Jan. 16) It’s a slow process and it’s a difficult transition.

But when customers demanded organic products last spring, Jeff Lundberg provided them.

That meant the vice president of operations and production for Santa Maria, Calif.-based Babé Farms had to do something unheard-of at the company, 18 years old at the time.

Babé Farms formed contracts with other growers to provide organic products.

”That’s the hard part for us,” Lundberg said. “We’ve always been so vertically integrated. We’ve grown everything we’ve ever sold.”

But it would take three years for Babé Farms to transition its fields to organic, and customers should not have to wait that long, Lundberg said.

“It’s not like I can go out and flip the switch on my fields,” Lundberg said. “I have to find other opportunities for growing organic, and there’s not a lot of organic available.”

For now, mainly in the West and Midwest, Babé Farms markets a continental salad blend with organic certification. The blend is available in 1-pound clamshell packages with a green label.

Babé Farms conventional salad mix, offered in 1-pound and 6-ounce bags, maintains its pink label.