Feb 15, 2023

Meet The True Organic R&D Team

Meet The True Organic R&D Team

Our Research & Development Team at True Organic truly sets us apart. This crew of dedicated science and agriculture professionals works to find even better ways to deliver powerful, organic, food-safe plant foods to you — and to the large-scale farms we’ve been serving for decades.

So we thought it was due time for them to share the spotlight with the products they help develop.  

From orchards and lettuce fields to chemistry labs and conferences, this team brings passion and positivity to everything they do. Meet our R&D Team!

Meet Mike Menes, PhD: Vice President Food Safety & Technology

mike menes

Hello, Mike! What’s your role with True Organic? 

I’m responsible for providing the systems and resources to manufacture a product at the highest quality standard. I am also a representative of True Organic in relation to the government and the wider organic industry.

Why is your work important to you?

In a few words: I can make a difference. I’m able to affect change and tell the world about it — like protecting the USDA Organic Seal and food/product safety (we’re proud to hold the highest possible standard for food safety), which are aspects that are important to me personally. We do this work with the objective to improve the lives of people in our company, the lives of people who buy our products, and to improve the planet.

A little more about me:

I am an avid woodworker. I learned some carpentry skills from my father and in a cabinet shop in college and in the summers after. I’ll try and make anything…I can’t guarantee that it’ll be very pretty, but it usually turns out okay.


Meet Ramy Colfer, PhD: Vice President, Research & Development / Agronomy

ramy colfer

Hi, Ramy! What’s your role at True Organic?

I work to improve our understanding of the many benefits of True Organic products for

organic farmers: improving soil health and plant nutrient availability, bolstering plant health and resilience, and helping our customers succeed. I really enjoy working with growers (our customers), our sales team, our production team, and my excellent R&D and Agronomy team. 

What do you love about your work? 

We help grow amazing organic crops and make soil better too while giving a home to waste products. True Organic is a great company to work for and has very strong integrity: in our commitment to customer service, organic integrity, and food safety, and in giving strong, scientifically-based guidance to our customers. True is a world-changing company in the way we take agricultural byproducts, process them for premium quality and safety, then quickly deliver them on a massive scale to growers all over the country. When I see how much organic food we help grow, and how much carbon material is added to the soil every year because of True Organic products, it brings me pride and satisfaction.

We have a very tight family culture here. We work hard together and try to improve the company every day. True is an exciting company, growing incredibly over the last two decades, with great potential to grow even more. Our goals are lofty and our only limits are our imaginations.

A little more about me: 

I love my family, I love my home and the place I live, and I love working in organic agriculture. I have a wonderful wife and three daughters that are all doing incredible things in the world. I really enjoy regular activities in our local mountains and ocean here on the Central Coast. There is rarely a week that goes by when I am not hiking in the mountains or surfing in the ocean. I am a person with great gratitude. I hope to help the world a little before I leave.


Meet Ehsan Toosi, PhD: Director of Research & Development

ehsan toosi

Hello, Ehsan! What’s your role with True Organic? 

Apart from particular research directions that I lead, I work with the rest of the R&D team at our Helm, California facilities on projects as well as research facilities (research lab and greenhouse), but also with the Operations team and external partners, especially technical and research units.

Why is your work important to you?

Our team at True is dedicated to turning upcycled waste/by-products into premium inputs for use in intensive organic cropping systems. I am fortunate to be a part of this effort and work in the industry, given a number of environmental and agronomic benefits of organic cropping, and nutritional value of organic crops.

A little more about me:

Indulging myself anywhere outdoor in the Sierras is my primary interest when I get a chance.


Meet Andrew Pedersen: Central Valley Senior Agronomist

andrew pedersen

Hey, Andrew! What’s your role at True Organic?

I support our sales team, customers, and growers in understanding and using True Organic products. I also create crop fertility programs to help guide organic growers on how best to apply our products (like determining application rates and timings).

During the production season (February through October), I oversee trials on organic farms, mostly to compare fertility using True Organic products to another program the grower might be using. Many times, I’m comparing a new True product or program to other True products the grower is already using — that’s how we continuously improve the productivity of organic systems. We use soil and leaf tissue tests to determine nutrient availability, capture aerial imagery with drones using specialized sensors that can help compare plant health, and evaluate yield and quality (critical points, as they’re the bottom line for the grower). In the late fall and winter, I interpret, summarize, and present data from our trials to the sales team, customers, and growers. 

What matters to you about your work?

I live in Tulare County, the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. This valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, specializing in nuts, grapes, fresh fruit, and a variety of vegetables. Growers in this region are facing tremendous challenges, the biggest of which is water availability for irrigation. I believe organic production has the potential to provide growers the opportunity to improve long-term economic profitability, while improving soil health and farming in a more sustainable way. Farming organically can be difficult, and resources about how to do it successfully are limited. True Organic has been and will continue to be an important resource for these growers as they transition to organic farming.

A little more about me:

My family and I are lucky to live on 4 acres. My wife, who is a veterinarian, has plenty of room for animals (horses, goats, and chickens) and I have a lot of space to grow my own fruits and vegetables. I have about 20 different fruit trees and grow a variety of vegetables year-round, thanks to California’s climate. It’s so satisfying to watch my 2 kids enjoying tomatoes, peaches, or mandarins that I grew and harvested myself. And since I started at True, I’ve got lots of free organic fertilizer to play with!

Meet Justin Russak, PhD: Senior Chemist

justin russak

Hi, Justin! What’s your role at True Organic? 

I have the privilege of taking ideas and turning them into useful products. The research begins in the R&D lab, which is equipped with all the instruments and tools we need to ensure our products are stable, compatible, and meet specifications. Working with production and engineering, products that are ready for primetime need to be translated from their small lab-scale tests to large-scale production. A good portion of my time is dedicated to supporting these efforts as well as many others at our facility in Helm, CA. 

What do you love about your work at True? 

It is extremely satisfying to work in an environment with like-minded people who inspire greatness. The work we put in as a team has a direct impact on the products we sell to organic growers. The final reward is seeing a grower’s product in the grocery store and putting it in my basket, knowing that in some small way I contributed to that process.

A little more about me:

I tackle the New York Times crossword daily — it’s been a thing for maybe 5 years or so now, along with the Spelling Bee and Wordle. If you know…you know.

Meet Margaret McCoy, PhD: PNW R&D Agronomist

margaret mccoy

Hey, Margaret! What do you do at True Organic? 

During the summer, I do data collection and analysis including soil and tissue samples for trials and grower collaborators. We meet with growers to go over trial data and progress to help inform their organic production.

What do you love about your work at True?

I find happiness in helping growers and hopefully making a difference to the industries we work with. Organic farming is in my blood, and I want to honor those who have taught me or helped me along this path in life. 

A little more about me:

I love to snowboard and I make wine from my own vineyard. 

meet the team

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