At Southern Sqweeze we serve nothin’ but all-natural, 100% organic products. That promise is at the core of what we do, and thank goodness more and more people are going organic every day. In fact, so many producers have taken to using the word “organic” on their labels in recent years, it seems like it’s everywhere now. So what exactly does it mean for something to be labeled organic? According to the USDA's Organic 101 blog, there's a lot that goes into it, so let's dive right in.
Organic farming starts with a mindset centered on a more holistic, sustainable approach to growing than conventional farming. While on the surface this may seem like a grassroots, break-away-from-the-chain sort of notion, some regulation is still necessary when you consider the huge amounts of products moving around the country at any given time. That’s where the USDA comes in.
The USDA remains the authority on what is considered organic in today's market. The idea is that if something is certified organic by the USDA, then it was produced according to a set of very strict and detailed guidelines. First, it ensures that a product was grown with or contains none of the following:
- Synthetic pesticides
- Synthetic fertilizers
- Sewage sludge
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- Ionizing radiation
- Growth Hormones
Secondly, organic certification refers to the entire process from farm to table, including documentation and inspections. According to a committee formed by the USDA known as the National Organic Program, these inspections account for every part of the process, including:
- Seed sources
- Soil conditions
- Crop health
- Weed and pest management
- Water systems and inputs
- Contamination and risk prevention
Now that we know what factors go into organic certification starting at the farm, let’s see how these foods appear on the shelves of your local market. Despite what you may have thought, there are different levels of organic certification, and it's important to know which category the food you're buying falls under. Remember, it’s all about making sound decisions when buying an organic product, so be mindful of the following USDA classifications:
The categories listed above were set by the USDA, and they were defined so that you can know exactly how your food was grown and produced. True, the organic certification process can seem complex at times, but it starts with a simple idea – think of certified organic products as if you grew them in your own garden, completely pure, unaltered, just as they were meant to be. For large-scale farmers committed to producing organics, this process means doing a lot of things differently, and it often means more work for less profit. But, as more and more people are buying local as well as organic products, things may be looking pretty good for organic farmers.
When it comes to our juices, you can rest assured that everything in that bottle was grown just as nature intended, straight from the ground and into your hands, with a few pit stops in between. That’s why each bottle comes with a date indicating its freshness – since we don’t pasteurize or put our products through any additional processes (preservatives), you’ll know that it’s as fresh as could be when you drink it. It may seem like a lot of trouble to use only 100% organic foods, but as we say here in the South, the proof is in the pudding – you can taste the difference, and you'll feel all the better for it. If you'd like to learn more about organic certification, check out the USDA's Organic 101 blog, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest updates, promotions, and special programs we have going on.