The VERBA FARM always tries to make sure we are accurate and honest in the way we label and portray our produce and other products. Definitions are often an issue of debate. What is organic and what isn’t? What and how far is ‘local’?
We pretty much deem most pesticide and chemical free produce as natural, but we do avoid the word ‘organic’ as that has FDA definitions for licensing. So, we use ‘natural’ or ‘pesticide and chemical free’. It is almost like a mantra during the summer growing season. I think I have repeated that phrase 1,000 times a month.
We deem local as meaning about 100 miles from Lehigh Valley. We do consider produce grown in Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Lebanon, Chester, Montgomery, Lancaster, Delaware Counties of PA, as well as Warren County in New Jersey as local to us. I know other have other definitions, but that one works for us. We have some really good relationships with farmers in those areas that grow and sell to us. So, when you buy from us and we tell you it is local, that is what we mean.
We don’t sell at ‘producer only ‘ farm markets. We don’t produce everything we sell. We have never made that statement or promise. I suppose there are some farmer that only sell what they personally grow, but I don’t know many. What makes this label troublesome is we can’t or wont sell something like tomatoes or corn that is raised by another farmer in somewhere like Lancaster. However, we can sell the same tomatoes and corn to a local vendor in the Lehigh Valley and they make sauces, salsas, cooked dishes and sell them at ‘producer only’ markets. So, the same tomato or corn that we CAN’T sell at the ‘producer only’ market is being sold at the same market because someone turned it into something else. We add into that group the baked goods that are pawned off as producer only. What part is locally produced…. the chocolate? We don’t even want to touch on the farmers that out and out lie about where their product comes from. They buy from the same sources we buy. We know and they know it. The ‘producer only’ markets, in many cases, do a ‘wink, wink, nod, nod’ to them. So be it.
We only sell heirloom and heritage seeds. That does not mean that there are not some really good hybrids out there, especially in tomatoes, that are not worthy, but it means we only sell seeds that can be collected and saved for another season. To be honest to our sense of sustainability we think it is best to do it that way. Any seeds you get from the VERBA FARM can be saved for another year and the seeds from what you grow can be saved for another year. That is not true from the ‘big box store’ seeds that are from huge agri-monopolies. We pride ourselves in not only bringing you heirloom seeds, but teaching you how to be self sufficient in growing for the future.
When you buy from a farmer or farm stand or farmers market, ask questions if you don’t understand what you are buying. At the VERBA FARM you will get a simple, direct answer that does not try to coat or skirt what you are getting. You have every right to know what you are buying and eating.
Be Well and Eat Well !!!!