Certified Organic: This means the producer and their products have been certified by the USDA to be following certain standards that exclude the use of non-organic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, growth hormones, genetically modified organisms, and antibiotics in the farming or processing.
Natural or Organic Practices: This is a form of non-chemical farming and food processing. Farmers who are growing using an organic method generally don’t use synthetic chemicals, genetically engineered seeds or products, growth hormones or routine antibiotics in their practices. These farms have not been certified as organic by the USDA and cannot represent their products as “certified organic.”
Sustainable: This means that the farmer strives for harmony with the natural environment, considers issues of human health, societal and economic well-being, while seeking to be environmentally and socially responsible.
Free Range: This is a method of animal husbandry and pasture management where livestock and poultry are allowed to roam freely instead of being confined closely or caged. It can be applied to meat, eggs or dairy farming.
Pasture-raised or grass-fed: Meat, dairy and poultry described in these terms came from animals raised primarily on a diet of freshly grazed pasture during the growing season and stored grasses during the winter months. They are generally not given growth hormones or grain food.
Integrated Pest Management: The use of scientifically proven thresholds to monitor pests and make decisions based on severe crop loss when considering the use of pesticides.
Questions to ask your farmer:
The power in buying locally comes from being able to ask your farmer questions that are important to you. We offer a few suggestions on things to ask or look for.
- Did you grow this product yourself or was it purchased from another farm?
- What are your growing methods?
- What are your animals fed? Are they free range and/or pasture raised?
- Do you have any recipes or recommendations for this product?
- How long ago was this product picked? Is it ready to eat? What’s the best way to store or preserve it?