The 5 Largest Organic Farms in the United States: An Overview of Organic Food Production

March 04, 2024
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Discover the top U.S. organic farms, their innovative practice and contributions to the booming organic food industry.

The 5 Largest Organic Farms in the United States: An Overview of Organic Food Production


The organic food industry is the fastest-growing food sector. In 2021 alone, U.S. organic farms and ranches sold upwards of $11 billion in products, and that number is only growing. It used to be that shoppers would have to seek out a natural grocer or some form of specialty store to get these products. Now, conventional grocery retailers have overtaken natural food stores by selling close to 56% of all organic produce.


Why does this matter? The increase in naturally made food without preservatives, pesticides, or chemicals has reshaped how our country farms. It is way more common to find a new or growing organic farm than a traditional monocropping entity unless they are focusing on wheat or corn.


With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at those giant organic farms producing the majority of products we bring to our family table.


What Makes a Farm Organic?


According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), to be named an “organic farm,” all the food must be grown and processed without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. If a pesticide is 100% derived from natural sources (biological pesticides), then it is okay.


Most organic farmers don’t rely on pesticides at all. They opt for natural processes found when using biodiverse systems. This means they may have developed a way of introducing bugs, animals, or complementary crops to manage any concerns of pests. This is through the use of a natural ecosystem for growing.


Most importantly, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are not allowed on organic farms. There is some gray area here because some produce found today is so long gone from the original DNA that it is permitted.


The point is, when you happen to come across any of the largest organic farms in the United States, you’re bound to find highly nutritious food grown in a safe, chemical-free environment. Now, let’s get into our list!


The 5 Biggest Organic Farms


#1 – Cal-Organic Farms

Of course, we have to begin our list of the largest U.S. organic farms in California. Founded back in 1984 (the same year they were certified organic), Cal-Organic Farms produces over 65 seasonal and year-round vegetables. Every year, they add more acreage of organic farmland to their already impressive 40,000 acres of certified organic California territory. They are located deep in the San Joaquin Valley.


#2 – Shriver Farms

Situated among the many farms of Iowa, Shriver Farms takes a unique approach to avoiding weed buildup. Instead of using pesticides or chemicals, they attach “burners” to their Caterpillar tractors. That scorches the over 2,000 acres of chemical-free crops so any of the weeds or bugs are eliminated before starting another round of growing. Since 1867, this family farm has used a diverse farm rotation to produce over 40 different fruits and vegetables.


#3 – McEnroe Farms

New York is not going to be left out of our list. In the Upstate area, you’ll find a 1,000-acre-strong organic farm producing a harvest of vegetables and meats and offering educational programming to surrounding farmers and schools. Originally started as a dairy farm, the owner wanted a way out of crippling debt. That led to cattle, stock, and eventually, the power of organic foods in today’s market.


#4 – South Tex Organics

Even though South Tex Organics was founded in 1984, it converted to organic later on after a study by John Goolsby of Texas A&M University demonstrated the profits and sustainability benefits. Since then, the 500 organic acres of farmland have been dedicated to growing citrus. That includes Texas Rio Star grapefruit, oranges, Meyer lemons, and red/yellow onions. The owner was even named to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) for his work in organic farming.


#5 – Harlow Farm

Vermont has always been on the forefront of fresh and chemical-free produce. There is simply something in the water up there, and it shows with the over 150-acre Harlow Farm. Since 1917, Harlow has remained one of the oldest and largest organic farms in the United States. This is a multi-generational area with vegetables, chickens, and other crops, as well as a picturesque farm stand that draws in thousands of tourists every year.


Honorable Mention: MA’O Farms

Even though MA’O Organic Farms only operates roughly 40 acres, they are located in Hawaii. If you’ve ever been to the islands, you’ll know even an acre of land feels like a palace with so much demand for housing and space. This is a rare gem spearheading the Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) from the USDA.


They grow over 40 different forms of fruits and vegetables and are co-managed by a youth and local community internship program that allows them to give back. This is a welcome organization and an organic farm that focuses on tradition more than mass production. 



Demand for organic food is only going to get stronger. You don’t have to visit Sprouts or Trader Joe’s to get organic food. Stopping in at your local Hannaford, Safeway, Shaw’s, or even Piggly Wiggly will result in organic sections full of delicious fruits and vegetables.


The United States is bound to see more growth in the organic farms sector. More and more family-operated farms will transition with the full backing of the USDA. The largest organic food companies will pressure their networks of farms to do the same. This could be the transformation our country needs for a safer, more nutritious, and sustainable future in organic foods.