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Know Your Food Icons
We take our promise of providing transparency very seriously.
The key to eating healthy is knowing how your food is grown.
There isn’t just one definition of “local.” Some argue that food can be considered local if grown within 100 miles of where it is being sold, while the USDA defines local as within 400 miles! Because we are a major metropolitan area located on the coast, we choose to define local as food grown or made within 300 miles of NYC.
Eating local is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint because fewer food-miles mean fewer emissions. Food grown locally also benefits your gut biome by enriching it with the biodiversity reflected in the local soil, further supporting your overall health and immune system. Lastly, buying food produced close to home is a great way to support your friends and neighbors through the local economy!
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use natural biological methods like trapping, weeding, and pheromones to discourage pests from harming their crops. If these methods fail, or there is a particularly bad outbreak, a carefully selected pesticide or chemical treatment may be used - one that causes the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.
For foods to be certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, they must be grown and processed according to strict guidelines that address, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. As a result of these regulations, USDA Certified Organic food is produced the way nature intended.
Organic produce must be grown on soil that had no prohibited substances, like synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, applied for three years prior to harvest. For organic meat, regulations require that animals are raised in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviors (like the ability to graze on pasture), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not administered antibiotics or hormones. When it comes to processed, multi-ingredient foods, regulations prohibit artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. For more info visit: https://www.usda.gov/topics/organic
There are a few reasons why a farm might be labeled "Beyond Organic" versus ”Certified USDA Organic.” One very common reason is money. Many small farms cannot afford the thousands of dollars per year it costs to acquire and maintain certified status, even though they practice--or even exceed--the guidelines set by the USDA. Another reason is that the alternative, often regenerative, practices of these small farms have yet to be defined and regulated by the organic industry. Regenerative practices go a step further than organic standards as they strive to reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improvements to the water cycle.
Meat and dairy can be considered grass-fed when the animal eats only grasses and (and other naturally foraged plants, like hay) for the length of its life. Grass-fed meats often have a distinctly “meatier” or “gamier” taste and texture than their grain-fed counterparts. They also tend to be leaner because the animals do not consume as much starchy, fattening foods, like corn. These differences can be observed in grass-fed dairy as well, whose texture is often creamier and flavor naturally infused with subtle hints of the season’s native grasses. Most importantly, grass-fed products are more healthful because they’ve absorbed all the vitamins and minerals from the nutritionally-diverse pasture grasses.
Meats labeled as grain-finished reflect an animal that was raised most of its life on grasses, but ate a mixture of grains and other plants once mature, often to enhance marbling (i.e. fat content). Sometimes, when selecting for certain characteristics in craft meat or other animal products, like ratios of lean meat to fat or particular flavor profiles, farmers will opt for a grain-supplemented diet. This does not mean the animals were confined in feedlots, force-fed, or fed grain alone. We do not stand for that! Our standards for grain-finished meats require that the animal enjoyed a grass-fed diet and/or pasture-raised lifestyle and were simply finished with a specific grain diet at the end of their lives.
Another reason you might see grain-finished as a label is that, particularly due to climate change, the weather and seasons start and end dates can be unpredictable when planning the animals' diet. Therefore, many farmers rely on supplementing their animals’ diet with grain to ensure they are well fed year-round.. Either way, Farm to People only sources the most humanely-raised, tasty craft meat possible--whether it is grass-fed or grain-finished.
The fish bearing this label were caught in their natural wild environments with specific care not to destroy their habitats or overfish the population. This leads to more diversified flavors and colors as their wild diets vary with season and availability. Wild-caught fish usually cost a bit more than their farmed cousins due to the higher labor costs of sustainable fishing practices.
As the name states, pasture-raised animals roam in open space when and where they want within their pasture. They graze freely, consuming almost exclusively grass and other wild forages available in the field. This label goes beyond "cage-free" or even "free-range." Not only have these animals never seen a cage, they are also not beholden to anyone's feeding or exercise schedule but their own. They are usually provided with an open shelter they can use at will. This results in happier, healthier animals that produce tastier, more nutrient-dense products.
Vegan foods do not contain anything derived from animals (e.g. dairy, eggs, gelatin, meat broths, etc.). Some producers label products vegan even though they contain honey. While we support the ethical production of honey--as it benefits the world’s bee population and supports their important role as natural pollinators--none of Farm to People’s products with a vegan label contain honey.
Products displaying this label are made in small batches overseen by expert artisan producers, as opposed to mass-produced in a factory setting. The result of this type of production is homemade quality food, which often presents variations from one batch to another. Makers use their senses to adjust their recipes to compensate for naturally occurring variations in ingredients (for example: naturally saltier butter, spicier than last season’s peppers, or higher sugar content fruit). This is what puts the “art” in artisan! Additionally, food produced in small-batches generates less food waste.
The product bearing this label was made with at least 75% ingredients grown within 300 miles of NYC.