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Sometimes its the non-certified organic cheese that's more sustainable—and delicious.
I am a proponent of organic certification, as I see value for consumers to have assurance that a third party has verified claims being made for what’s in a product and how it’s been produced.
However, organic certification is not the be all and end all of our answers for sustainable food systems. There was a time when all food was grown “organic” without the application of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and genetically modified seeds.
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A favourite cheeses of Allison Spurrell, owner of Vancouver-based cheese and gourmet food retailer Les Amis du Fromage, is a Beaufort from one of their suppliers in the French Alps who, according to the expert, produce some of the purest product in the world. Although not a certified organic cheese producer, their cows graze in their alpine pastures and drink pure glacial water. Our assurance comes from the relationship Allison’s made with the producers and with the first-hand experience she has visiting the farm and learning their methods.
For more about ‘organic,’ ‘local’ and other farmers market lingo, check out our Organics Guide.
Although organic certification is important, it’s not everything. Without an open mind one could easily miss a treasure from a small family farm with values and processes that predate the need for certifying anything organic. We can’t put all our trust in a label when it’s really about people, relationships and the culture we create.