There is a lot of confusion among consumers about the definitions of “natural” and “organic”. Organic is a USDA regulated term and label. Natural is not regulated. To be certified organic, farmers must meet strict regulations and be inspected annually. Being certified organic is not something you can easily do. Tim spends hours upon hours doing paperwork, calling our certifier to make sure certain inputs are allowed and showing our inspector around. We take our certification seriously.
On the other hand, we sell “naturally” raised pork, beef and chickens. Let it be known, natural means different things to different people. To us it means that we raise our meat animals in conditions that we believe are good for them and our environment. We encourage you to be informed about the “natural” label. When you see a product labeled natural at the store, you need to be vigilant about what you really want from that product. Read the ingredients, understand the company or producer and understand what natural means to them.
You may ask, why don’t we just make our entire farm organic. We are constantly considering that question as well. Our biggest struggle is inputs. It is very tough for us to find organic hay for our cows, let alone beef steers and at the present time we are unable to get organic chicken feed from our local feed meal. For chickens, the only certified organic chicken processing plant is in Ackley, MN. This underscores why organic foods are more expensive than conventional. The infrastructure in agriculture is not ready for a mass production of organic.
One plea that I make to you, is if you choose to buy natural labeled products, make sure there that there is a farmer on the other end receiving value added. Sadly, much of the ‘natural’ and ‘health’ food you find in the store is all marketing. For example, Market Pantry is selling “whole grain” popcorn. Of course it is whole grain; you wouldn’t want half a kernel of corn (they don’t pop too well). One milk company is selling ‘natural’ milk and yogurt and using conventional milk with no value added to the producers. Marketing is everywhere in food.
If you ever have questions about how we produce our milk or how we raise our animals, please give us a call or send us an email.
Final note: if you want pork this year, you need to act fast. We are taking orders for halves and wholes. Don’t worry we walk you through the whole process. Just give Lisa a call at 952-461-3428.
EmilyFun Farm Fact: Pigs only sweat on their noses. This is why they roll in the mud to keep cool. So if someone says you are sweating like a pig, take it as a compliment.