Applegate Farms is one of the biggest names in organic deli meats. They supply many major grocery chains including Whole Foods and Sprouts and we’re also proud to stock them here, at your local Associated Foods grocery store. Organic deli meats are a great example of how we strive to be different from other retailers out there. You won’t find Applegate Farms Organic at retailers like Smiths or Walmart and we offer them at a better value than Whole Foods and Sprouts. Just one of the many examples of how we’re trying to provide you with the best shopping experience possible.
What does organic mean?
Organic certification is a set of standards that are strictly enforced at all levels of production. From the farms that raised the animals to the facilities that processed them to the distribution centers that get them to your local store, all must be certified organic to ensure that what you’re buying actually meets the standards established. While the standards are very lengthy and specific, generally speaking all organic meats:
- Are raised in pastures and on feed that is organic. This means no synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers can be used.
- Feed must be 100% vegetarian with no animal products.
- In the case of beef, at least 30% of all feed must be from grazing in pastures.
- All animals must have access to the outdoors.
- Minimum space requirements for both indoor and outdoor areas are set.
- No antibiotics or hormones can be used.
- Manufacturers ensure the product does not come in contact with any prohibited chemicals.
Organic vs natural
Meats are one of the only products in your grocery store where natural is a regulated term. The FDA, which oversees labeling of most shelf-stable items, has not yet defined natural but the USDA has long been enforcing a standard for natural meat products. All natural meats must be made without any synthetic ingredients like nitrates or sodium erythrobate and can’t be produced by means such as mechanical separation. The meat, however, may or may not be from humanely treated animals, animals raised without hormones or antibiotics, or animals raised on organic feed and organic pastures.
Applegate has a natural line in addition to their organic deli meats. In addition to containing no synthetic ingredients, the company also guarantees the animals were raised without antibiotics or hormones. They also guarantee that no animal by-products were used in the feed. Both the Applegate Organic and Natural products are high quality. You’ll taste the difference immediately. I recommend purchasing the organic if you can because there are added assurances about animal welfare and sustainable farming practices through organic certification. No matter which you choose, however, you won’t be disappointed the in the quality of the meat or the price you’ll find at your local grocery store.