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What makes organic foods and products so popular, anyway?
In recent years our community has learned how organic farming is healthier for us and the environment. Organic fruits and vegetables are certified by third-party organizations to be free of toxic pesticides; organically raised meats and organic dairy products, must come from animals not treated with antibiotics and hormones. The animals must consume organic feed.
If you're interested in all the details and regulations that products labeled "organic" must follow in the United States, visit the USDA Organic Certification page.
The Organic Difference
Choosing organic isn't the same as choosing foods labeled "natural." There are no guidelines for what can be labeled as natural, and there is no certification process. Unfortunately, sometimes foods and products that really ARE more natural are confused with products that are just benefiting from the positive feeling associated with the word. For example, our maple syrup that is not certified organic IS, thankfully, filtered without the help of formaldehyde! We believe that this syrup does deserve the "natural" label.
Choosing organic isn't the same as choosing local. Local foods are often a sustainable, environmentally friendly choice: they have less distance to travel. Because farms are smaller, farmers often use more sustainable farming methods than on large farms (learn more about the consequences of large-scale industrial farming here), including using fewer pesticides and herbicides. And when we, the customers, get to speak directly to the farmers, we can ask them about their growing practices to find out. Local food is special because it's fresher, tastes better, and builds community.
Organic practices are special, on the other hand, because they are focused on the health of our food as well as our environment. Organic farming methods ensure the "cleanest" possible product and the gentlest of effects on our land, water, and air supplies.