How Was Your Food Grown?

Our good food community is beautifully diverse! 

We focus on food that was made or grown responsibly, with low or no pesticides, utilizing eco-friendly and ethical practices. We also try to balance this ethos with price points to match all our customers' needs. 

This list gives you an idea of the different types of growing and making practices used by our partners. 

Want to learn about a specific product?
Each listing in our online store is paired with a list of "Protocols." This list covers where and how the food was made, as well as any important dietary notes.

At market?
Just ask any of our friendly market associates! We try to label each item on the table, but we're always thrilled to chat about local food, how it's made, and how it moves!

  • Certified Humane Raised and Handled

    This means that the product is certified by Humane Farm Animal Care, an international non-profit. This means the producer meets HFAC's Animal Care Standards and applies them to farm animals, from birth through slaughter.
    Animals are never kept in cages, crates, or tie stalls. Animals must be free to do what comes naturally. For example, chickens must be able to flap their wings and dust bathe, and pigs must have space to move around and root.
    Animals must be fed a diet of quality feed, without animal by-products, antibiotics or growth hormones. Producers must comply with food safety and environmental regulations. Processors must comply with the American Meat Institute Standards (AMI), a slaughter standard written by Dr. Temple Grandin, a member of HFAC’s Scientific Committee. You can read about the specific standards for each animal and food product here.

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  • Certified Naturally Grown

    an answer to certified organic; a peer-review certification to farmers and beekeepers producing food for their local communities by working in harmony with nature, without relying on synthetic chemicals or GMOs.

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  • Dairy Free

    Made without dairy ingredients
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  • Direct Ingredient Sourcing

    This refers to a locally produced value added product for which our partner sources their main ingredients directly from other farmers or co-operatives.
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  • Free Range

    This term means that animals are not in confinement pens and have access to the outdoors.

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  • From the Chesapeake Foodshed

    We use this term to refer items that are grown and made within the Chesapeake Foodshed, a geographical area with borders marked by the watershed which defines so much of agriculture.
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  • Grass fed

    When we use the term "grass fed" we mean that the animal lived its whole life eating grass or hay, on pasture whenever possible. This is also referred to as "grass finished" or "100% grass fed," since the original term is often co-opted and used by operations who feed livestock grass at the beginning of their life, but then fatten the animal for slaughter on a grain diet. "Grass fed" is a more specific way of classifying cattle that are pasture raised or free range.

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  • Grown Using organic Practices

    (with the "little o") we use this term when we talk about farms who may use all or majority organic habits, but are not certified by the USDA. Often, the certification process is financially and logistically difficult for small farms. These farms typically use organic seed (if you want to know which of our partners use certified organic seed in particular, just ask!), follow organic guidelines against GMOs, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides. We encourage you to explore the practices of any of our partners. They're proud of how they raise your food, and so are we! We're happy to help facilitate this relationship in any way you need.

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  • Hydroponic

    Hydroponic crops are grown indoors, often in greenhouses, using a nutrient rich growing medium (rather than soil) and water.

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  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

    an ecosystem-based strategy for reducing pest harm to plants. Rather than using synthetic chemicals, farmers may use biological controls, predator insects, companion planting, habitat manipulation, and changing of their own daily habits to dissuade pests. You can read more about IPM in Dr. Kulveen Virdee's guest blog post here.

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  • Locally Grown

    We use the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Real Food Challenge, and health Care Without Harm definition of locally grown: raised within 250 miles of our delivery area.

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  • Locally Produced

    We use the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Real Food Challenge, and health Care Without Harm definition of locally produced: made within 250 miles of our delivery area. These items are made by our good food partners, who try to source locally and organically as much as possible.

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  • Maryland Grown/Made

    This denotes items that are grown or produced within the state of Maryland.
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  • Non- GMO

    Non- Genetically Modified Organism. GMOs are novel organisms created in a laboratory using genetic modification/engineering techniques. When we use the term "non- GMO" we're talking about a food product that doesn't contain any GMO ingredients, an animal that wasn't fed GMO feed, an egg from a chicken which wasn't fed any GMO feed, or produce which doesn't originate from a GMO seed.

    Certified Organic products are always non-GMO.

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  • Pasture Raised

    animals raised with the ability to freely roam (within reason) on farms. We believe this is the most comfortable and natural setting for animals to be raised. This term is not regulated by the USDA. When we use it, we mean that the animals spend the majority of their time outside on pasture and have access to shelter from predators and bad weather. We source meat and eggs from farms where the animals have plenty of room to move around each other in their pastures and shelters and are not stressed from overcrowding or the condition of their living areas.

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  • Pescatarian

    Made with fish, but no other meat
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  • Pesticide Free

    These crops are grown without the use of chemical pesticides.

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  • Soy Free

    We most often use this term in reference to meat animals that weren't fed any soy products or eggs coming from chickens who weren't fed any soy products. 

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  • Sustainably Wild Caught

    Seafood that has been caught in its natural habitat while maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. This is gentler on the environment than farmed fish, which produces large amounts of waste in a concentrated area and often mandates the application of synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, and grain based feed.

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  • Transitional

    This means the food was grown on a farm undergoing transition to organic production (often from IPM, or non-certified organic practices)for vegetables or to a pasture raised, system (for animals).

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  • USDA Organic/ Certified Organic

    products made in keeping with federal organic guidelines after obtaining federal certification of growing or production methods. Certified organic growing prohibits the use of GMOs and most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. When meat is certified organic, that means that the animals were raised in conditions that encourage their natural habits, ate only certified organic food, and were not given any antibiotics or hormones.

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  • Vegan

    Made without animal products.
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  • Vegetarian

    Made without meat
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Antibiotic Free

Maryland became the second U.S. state to pass a law banning the routine use of antibiotics in healthy livestock and poultry following the "Maryland's Keep Antibiotics Effective Act" which became effective in October 2017. Kim's testimony was key in helping to pass this law, and she is a fierce proponent of antibiotic free meat.

All the meat we carry falls under this label.


When we refer to "the Collective" we mean our partners who we source from. We partner with beginning farmers, small to medium-scale operations, and innovative thinkers. By aggregating their products we open up new and diverse markets for them, while taking the stress off of consumers to shop for products that are good for their health and good for the earth. 


Practices that intentionally care for the environment, including protecting water quality, building good soils, being mindful of packing materials and use, reducing food waste, reducing or eliminating the use of synthetic chemicals, and being pollinator friendly. If you're curious about the eco-cred of any particular operation, just ask! These folks are doing amazing work, and each one is doing its part in a collection of ways

Food Producer

Someone that makes or grows food. We use this term as a catch-all for our farmers, our kombucha brewers, and our juice makers alike

Fresh From The Farm

Food that has not been processed or altered to extend its life that is coming straight from the farm and is healthy and nutritious. Our goal is to get perishable food from harvest to your house in 48 hours or less.

Good Food

We use this term interchangeably with "clean food" to mean food that we feel confident in, that has our stamp of approval because we feel it is produced and delivered in a transparent way which meets our high standards of taking care of the environment, the farm's workers and owners, the food's consumers, and any animals involved.

Hormone Free

To us this means the meat was raised and produced without the use of any added hormones.

All the meat we carry falls under this label.


We believe a humane life and death is integral to the ethical consumption of meat, as well as creating a better product. Animals should not be unduly stressed by their environment or by the way in which they are processed. When we use this term, we mean that the animal lived as natural of a life as possible, typically in as free of an area as possible, and met it's end as quickly and gently as possible. We will use this space and our social media to help share the stories of these animals and their caretakers. In the meantime, if you have questions or want to know more, just ask! Every farm is different. 

We do not carry meat that we feel is not up to this standard.

New or Beginning Farmer

Farmers who have been growing for fewer than three years.

Nutrient Dense

Food relatively low in calories and high in nutrients: full of minerals, vitamins, lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs. Several landmark peer reviewed scientific studies point to a general decline in nutrients among many commercially popular fruits and vegetables, most likely due to declining soil health and a penchant for industrial scale agriculture favored traits (pest resistance, rapid growth, uniformity). We love our farmers' dedication to growing good soil and preserving heirloom and uncommon fruit and vegetable varieties for this reason, among others!


Good food friends! These are folks who grow, make, or catch the food we sell.

Pollinator Friendly

Practices that encourage the health of pollinator species, from planting a wildflower border on crop fields, to minimizing harmful pesticide use, to leaving crops that are past production but still flowering in fields. 

We prioritize partners who have pollinator friendly practices in place.

Responsibly Grown

Food from farmers and producers that is made in a way that is good for the environment, good for consumers, good for food producers, and good for animals. Considerations include, quality of soil health, water quality, waste reduction, packaging options, transparency, and animal welfare. We also use this term to hold ourselves as a collective accountable in our buying, packaging, transporting and working practices. 

We do not carry food that we do not feel is responsibly grown or made.


A nutrient rich food that is especially full of compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to health.


When we say "sustainable," we're referring to practices that foster environmental, economic, and ethical prosperity and longevity. This includes but is not limited to: paying farmers fair prices, minimizing food and material waste,reducing chemical pesticide use, fostering healthy work environments for humans and animals, protecting water sources, and building good soil.

We prioritize food produced in a sustainable manner.


Being clear about how food is grown, made, altered, and transported, giving consumers the tools to find out where their food comes from, and giving farmers and producers credit for the amazing work they do. 

This is one of our founding ideals. If you have questions about your food, please ask! We're happy to share any information with you!

Zero/Low Waste

Taking intentional steps to use resources efficiently, for instance- being mindful of water conservation; using, asking customers to return, and reusing environmentally friendly packaging; and making value added products out of excess food.

This is a huge part of environmental and economic sustainability for us. We also feel that it's an ethical priority.

This is the primary reason for the Black Bottom Kitchen. We reinvent would be wasted food to make value added product and preserve its shelf life while creating more convenient options for customers.