Our Certified Ingredients

This page details the certifications of the ingredients we use to make our products.

Infusing Herbal Tallow

Certified Organic and Fair Trade

USDA & QAI Organic Certification

  • USDA and QAI certified organic products are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.
  • Produce can be called organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. In instances when a grower has to use a synthetic substance to achieve a specific purpose, the substance must first be approved according to criteria that examine its effects on human health and the environment.
  • Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products are not given antibiotics or growth hormones on an organic farm.
  • An organic production system is managed to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity.
  • Companies that handle or process organic food before it reaches grocery store shelves or restaurant kitchens must also be certified.
  • Food products that are certified organic by QAI have been verified to meet strictly defined standards issued by national and international standards issuing bodies, such as the USDA, or other independent agencies.

Fair Trade Certification

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Fair Trade Certified helps to ensure a level of quality is delivered and sustainable practices are in place. A 3rd party certification agency assures human rights are protected throughout every stage of production, workers experience fair working conditions, and farmers receive a fair wage of their output. Fair trade benefits farmers by providing better resources and supports a high level of social accountability.

Members of the World Fair Trade Organization adhere to their ten principles of fair trade, which are:

  1. Opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers – Support for workers in moving from poverty to economic self-sufficiency
  2. Transparency and accountability (in management and commercial relations)
  3. Fair trade practices – Includes prompt payment of producers
  4. Fair payment – Prices, wages, and local living wages
  5. No child labor, no forced labor
  6. No discrimination, gender equity, freedom of association
  7. Good working conditions
  8. Capacity building – Improvement of productivity and management skills
  9. Promoting fair trade – Raising awareness, honest advertising and marketing
  10. Respect for the environment – Maximization of raw materials, sustainable sourcing, reduction of energy consumption, minimization of environment impact

Why Our Local Products Aren’t “Certified”

For Many Small Farmers, Being Certified ‘Organic’ Isn’t Worth the Trouble

The USDA certification is arduous and costly to maintain for small micro-farms, so some community farmers are finding alternate ways to assure buyers that their produce is pristine. It’s not necessarily prohibitive startup costs that turn small farms off of the organic certification process. However, the required recordkeeping and hoop jumping can be unmanageable.

Farmers with a certification are only inspected by the USDA once a year, but they are required to keep daily records of everything, from how often they irrigate to total hours spent weeding. And the more diverse the crop, the more complicated the paperwork. Complicating matters is attempting to adhere to very strict USDA standards such as not sharing equipment with a sister farm, even if it’s a necessary practicality between neighboring small farms. Playing by the organic-certification rules is an increasingly inorganic day-to-day process.

Since our farms are local, hands-on, and easily curated, we like to define them as “personally inspected and certified” by our staff to insure their quality and production methods. Our local, grass-fed, raw, pasture-raised, free-range, local, organic-fed, “sustainable” and “renewable” animal ingredients are personally audited by yours truly.

Instead of relying on third-party certificates, we personally take the time to visit and investigate our local farm sources, which is worth so much more than any label one can buy. Unfortunately, we cannot do this with all of our non-local ingredients from around the country and the world, so this is when we use the certifications to assist in curating our ingredients for the best assured quality.

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Learn more about our local farmers on Our Farmers page.