Standards and Practices

Food should be real. beef

Kohser Farms is committed to encouraging quality local agriculture, increasing the local economy, and connecting us all with the great food that is grown and made right here!

Food that is in season and from close to where you live and eat has higher nutritional benefits, better flavor, and more variety. Out-of-season grocery store produce is grown to survive long rides on boats, trains, and trucks, not to taste good. When you buy local, you can talk to the farmers, learn how they manage their farms, and both of you can get a better understanding  of each others’ needs.

We don’t require “organic” certification. We’d rather see a farm put investment into their land and practices than into the USDA certification process. Most farms around our area are doing things naturally, and in ways we might consider cool by our high standards; but the farmers just call it common sense. They don’t even know how great they are! I guess they didn’t have to read Michael Pollan like the rest of us.

Standards for Prepared Items

coffee roasting

coffee roasting

Coffee: Grown and bought sustainably and fairly. Small-batch-roasted on-demand.

Prepared Food: Uses as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible. No preservatives or artificial ingredients.  Prepared in a commercial, PA-approved kitchen with Food Safety Manager Certification.

Glossary of Sustainable Farming Terms and Concepts
The local farms we work with take the following principles seriously as stewards of their farm for their generation and future generations –

Soil fertility: they maintain the long term fertility of the soil by helping worms, insects and other organisms to flourish. They add nitrogen naturally by planting cover crops and rest part of their land each year to improve its soil tilth for future plantings. Healthy soil means healthy plants!

Rotating crops: they rotate the types of crops and animals in a field each year. This helps to keep the soil fertile and to prevent the build up of weeds, pests and diseases that can occur if the same crop is planted in the same field each year.

Animal husbandry: they have high standards of animal welfare which take into consideration the natural behavior patterns of the animals. The animals range freely outdoors, they are fed on a natural diet and given proper veterinary treatment. Animals are also an important part of an integrated farming system as their manure fertilizes the fields whose grasses they feed upon.

Protecting the environment: by reducing or avoiding the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, farmers who sell to Kohser Farms reduce pollution in the soil, waterways and the food chain. They encourage natural predators to help control pests rather than using chemicals. If necessary, they will spray their crops as part of their integrated pest management (IPM) system.  No genetically modified (GM) crops or animal feed are permitted.

Vegetables and Fruits

Certified Organic: Federal as well as state regulations govern the use of the term “organic” in the marketplace. Vegetables and fruits sold as “organic” must be grown and handled in accordance with these regulations. Operations with more than $5,000 gross annual income from sales of organic products must have their production and handling methods certified by an officially recognized organic certification agency.

Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.

Integrated Pest Management: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

Eggs

Free-Range or Free-Roaming: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has not set standards for “free-range” egg production. Eggs purchased by Kohser Farms are from pastured chickens in warmer months and uncaged free range hens in colder months.

Milk, Meat and Poultry

chickenPasture-Raised and Grass-Fed: The animals have access to the outdoors and are able to engage in natural behaviors, such as grazing. However, neither stocking density, frequency, duration of outdoor access nor quality of the land is regulated. Producers must submit affidavits to the USDA that support their animal production claims to use these labels.

Hormone-Free, rBGH-Free, rBST-Free and No Hormones Added: Growth hormones are commonly used to speed growth in beef production. While the use of these hormones has been approved by federal regulatory groups, there is no scientific consensus about their long-term effects on the environment or on human health. Producers may not legally give chickens or pigs hormones.

Corn-Fed: Ruminants do not naturally eat grain, and their stomachs are not designed to handle it. So, feeding them grain can cause liver abscesses and problems with lameness. In addition, cows raised on corn are higher in saturated fat and lower in omega-3 fats than cows raised on grass.

Kohser Farms’ beef  and lamb are grass-fed and hormone-free. Our pork and chickens are also hormone and antibiotic free, pastured with a non-GMO diet, and processed without nitrates.

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