Certified Organic. Chemical-Free. Pesticide-Free.
What do all of these labels mean?
We get this question a lot, and at The Produce Box, we’ve done our homework so you don’t have to. Organic produce means that farmers follow specific regulations from the US Department of Agriculture about how they grow the food and the chemicals used in the production. These regulations prohibit the use of genetically modified products, synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, require detailed records, and have on-site inspections. Like many laws and regulations, though, they don’t necessarily encompass all of the things we want in our food, and produce in the grocery store can be labeled organic even if it’s imported from outside of the US.
For a North Carolina farmer, getting the organic certification is a long, costly procedure. It can often entail letting fields go fallow for up to 5 years — something few small farmers can afford to do. That’s why offer quite a few options to be sure that we can support as many local, small to medium sized farmers in our state as possible.
For us, sourcing locally is one of the most important factors when choosing growers. Sourcing locally means that we develop relationships with all of our farmer partners, and through this relationship we can talk directly with them about their practices. The use of crop rotation helps nutrients stay in the soil between harvests, reducing the use of fertilizers for the next growing season. Many farmers will get in between the furrows to weed and remove pests by hand, and when you see a little tag-along bug in your box, it’s often because that vegetable was grown in a pesticide-free field.
We work with farmers who share our desire for a safer and healthier food source. We try to share their stories with you on this blog and in our newsletter so that you can get to know and trust them, too. Our farmers are hand-picked, and we visit the farms throughout the growing season. Sometimes crops succumb to weeds or bugs, and when that happens, we try to support the farmers through hard decisions they have to make to keep their livelihoods, even if that means they can’t stick to a 100% pesticide and chemical free growing season, because we know they will spray only as required.
At the end of the day, we leave the important decision of what you eat up to you and your family. From our Harvest Box to our O’Natural, we offer lots of choices and many ways to show your local love!
When you look at our weekly menu, remember these abbreviations to help you choose what’s right for you: