Fair Trade Certified: Fair Trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries promote better trading conditions and sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers, and mandates several social and environmental standards. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, such as coffee, sugar, tea, bananas and chocolate. Fair trade products may be certified by Fair Trade USA or other internationally recognized fair trade certification organizations.
Alfalfa’s will make it a priority to ensure its imported coffee meets either a Fair Trade or similar standard, such as Direct Trade. Our featured roaster in our Coffee Bar is OZO, a local coffee roaster that only features Direct Trade coffees. This means they have established direct buying relationships to provide incentives for farmers in coffee-growing cooperatives to invest in the necessary resources to produce coffees with quality above the Fair Trade minimum standards.
Organic: Produced via a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Organically produced foods also must be produced without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering and other excluded practices, sewage sludge or irradiation. Organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food. Organic growers and handlers must be certified by third-party USDA accredited organic certifiers, and must provide Alfalfa’s with a copy of their USDA Organic certification.
Natural: While there is no regulatory definition of natural, Alfalfa’s is a place where Natural means something. We have defined natural foods as those that contain no artificial flavorings, colorings, preservatives or additives. They are processed using non-synthetic processing methods, such as roasting, heating, enzyme treatment, fermentation, hydrolysis and extraction with natural solvents. They are also free of High Fructose Corn Syrup and Hydrogenated oils, among other disallowed ingredients.
Natural meat and dairy: We define Natural meat and dairy products as those from animals that have been humanely treated for their entire lives.. The animals must be fed vegetarian – preferably non-GMO – feed, and have had no use of supplemental synthetic hormones or antibiotics at any time in their lifetimes. We do not allow any dairy products that were produced using rBGH or rBST growth hormones.
Non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms): Genetic engineering is the direct human manipulation of an organism’s genetic material in a way that does not occur under natural conditions. It involves the use of recombinant DNA techniques, but does not include traditional animal and plant breeding. Any organism that is generated using these techniques is considered to be a genetically modified organism (GMO). According to the USDA, in 2009, 93% of soy, 93% of cotton and 86% of corn grown in the U.S. were GMO. It is estimated that over 90% of canola grown is GMO, and there are also commercially produced GM varieties of sugar beets, squash and Hawaiian Papaya. As a result, it is estimated that GMOs are now present in more than 80% of packaged products in the average U.S. or Canadian grocery store.
Alfalfa’s aggressively seeks alternative sources for products we know contain, or are suspect to contain, GMOs. Currently, certified Organic foods provide the best choice for avoiding GMOs because the technology is not allowed in organic production, which is why our first priority for products is for them to be certified organic. When organic is not available or convenient, Alfalfa’s will feature foods produced from non-GMO seed stocks. Alfalfa’s supports and recommends that vendors adhere to the standard adopted by the Non-GMO Project (www.nongmoproject.org link). Products with a “no-GMO” label must be verified by the non-GMO Project or meet a standard that allows no more than 0.5 percent of GMOs for human food, and 0.9 percent GMOs for animal feed and supplements. If a producer has not yet received verification from the non-GMO Project, they must provide testing verification that there are no more than 0.5 percent GMOs of GMOs in that product’s ingredients.
Wine, Biodynamic: Based on the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, biodynamic farming embraces organic practices and adds an extra layer of care. Important aspects include planting and harvesting by lunar cycles and holistic, locally based agricultural practices. Look for the “Demeter” certification from these especially dedicated wine makers. Our Sommelier calls this “uber-organic” wine. It is also uber-delicious!
Wine, Organic: Alfalfa’s defines Organic wines as those made with organically grown grapes, produced and bottled in a certified organic facility, and that have no added sulfites and are labeled “Certified Organic”. Wines that are made with minimal amounts of sulfites to preserve flavor are limited to the claim “made with organic Grapes”. Unless you are sensitive to sulfites in wines, Alfalfas recommends wines “Made with Organic Grapes” as they are 99.99% Organic, with a much better taste.
rBST- and rBGH-Free: rBST’s scientific name is Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin, and it’s a synthetic version of the Bovine Somatotropin (BST) hormone found in cattle. Another form of this synthetic growth hormone is rBGH, or Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. rBST and rBGH are used by many commercial dairies to increase milk production. Alfalfa’s steers clear of products that were produced with rBST and rBGH, which is why all of our dairy and cheese products are “Free” of these synthetic hormones