When perusing the stalls and stands at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, you may come across several terms regarding farming practices, animal husbandry and food processing. Here’s a little “cheat sheet” of special terms you may not already know. Please note that many of these terms do not have legal definitions. The non-profit organisation, CUESA, which sponsors the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, urges curious consumers to talk to the vendors themselves regarding any questions or definitions.
Certified California Grower
California farmers who wish to sell at Certified Farmers’ Markets are required to register with their country’s agriculture department, who verify that all the information claimed by these farmers is true. All farmers are required to post their certification at the farmer’s market.
Means that livestock animals were allowed to engage in their natural behaviours, were raised with sufficient space and shelter, were handled gently to limit stress, and given ample fresh water and a diet without added antibiotics or hormones.
The term means that animals within a herd are bred from the same herd. No animals are purchased from outside breeders and then incorporated into the herd.
Produce grown using a technique that seeks to retain moisture in the soil, minimizing or even eliminating the need for irrigation.
Cheeses labeled “Farmstead” are those made by the same people who keep the animals that produce the milk. Literally, they are cheeses “from the farm”.
“Heirloom” crop varieties are those that have been developed by farmers through years of cultivation, selection and seed saving, and then have been passed down from one generation to the next.
Farmers need to practice organic methods for 3 years on a piece of land before anything grown there can be “certified organic”. “Transitional” means that the farmland is in the midst of that transition period.
Thanks to CUESA for providing so much information about the market in their glossary.