Certified Organic: These products have been grown, processed, and handled in compliance with the standards of a recognized Certification Agency. Inspection is done on a yearly basis to assure compliance. Anyone claiming to be certified organic will have a certificate you can see if asked. Do ask!
Organic: Growers producing less than 5,000.00 worth of products each year may use the term organic, IF they follow the rules of a recognized certification agency and keep records to that effect. No one inspects them, and you have to decide for yourself it the grower is producing what you are looking for. Visit the farm. Know what to ask. True organic farmers have nothing to hide.
No Spray, Low Spray: This does not mean organic. Pesticides are applied by other methods than spraying. Low is relative. A little bit of herbicide will kill will kill every plant on an acre of ground. Ask questions. Chemical Free, Pesticide Free: Even Certified Organic products can contain traces of chemicals and pesticides due to their persistence in our environment. That's why we have to stop using them.
Natural: This term has been overused to the point where it is now almost meaningless, unless you are in a position to question the user as to what they mean by itâ€¦ and you know the right questions to ask. Wild crafted: Another good opportunity to ask questions. From where did it come? Was it picked along a highway or from state land? Does the county spray for mosquitoes or brush in the area? Was it picked from a drainage ditch in a heavily chemically farmed area? Maybe it came from a pristine area, maybe not.
Free Range: These animals actually run free and loose, and are able to eat a wide variety of things like green plants and insects from a green LIVING pasture. Pastured: Animals live in a fenced in area with living green plants. Chickens may be fenced in portable pens with open bottoms that are moved as needed. Obviously neither of these methods works in Michigan in the wintertime, and allowances are made. Outdoor Access: Means what? Can they go outside in fresh air and sunshine in a porch or small area of hard packed dirt or concrete? Summer, winter, both? Again, Ask questions!
Amish: This product was grown by people belonging to an Amish sect. It does not describe a particular farming method or imply it is organic. You will need to ask them personally what methods they use to produce their products.
Local: Buying local is a good way to buy fresh food, to support local farmers, and to keep food dollars circulating in the local economy. Supporting local organic production protects our environment and groundwater, not California's of China's. Ask where the product was grown or produced. The seller's idea of local may differ from yours. Get involved in your food choices. Email questions and comments to Rfharper@aol.com