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That's one of the beautiful things about it. But being able to clearly articulate what we mean is the foundation of any good relationship, especially when it comes to our relationship with food.
At Black Bottom we want to be as transparent as possible about how your food is grown, made, and moved. A lot of that comes down to the language we use. This gets a bit tricky when you factor in the cultural influence of vocabulary, particularly when you consider the complicated landscape of modern food..
So we thought we might put together a glossary of what we mean when we use particular words to tell your food's story.
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. In addition to the legal requirement to not routinely give production animals antibiotics, when we use this term, we mean that they were given no antibiotics outside of routine feeding as well.
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.
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.
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
This term means that animals are not in confinement pens and have access to the outdoors.
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.
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.
(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.
meat that is produced without the use of growth hormones.
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.
Hydroponic crops are grown indoors, often in greenhouses, using a nutrient rich growing medium (rather than soil) and water.
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.
To us, a product that is locally grown was raised within 100 miles of our delivery area.
We use this term to note products that were created within 100 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.
These are products from farmers and farms who have been growing for fewer than three years. The Collective is committed to helping new and beginning farms and farmers flourish. Part of the benefit of working with multiple new farms is that the Collective can offer its customers a greater variety of changing seasonal products without having gaps in our product line. By helping new farms access new markets, we're expanding their reach without creating more work in a time period that is often already hectic. The Collective also offers assistance to new farmers with business planning, marketing, growing knowledge, food safety, and licensing. We hope to grow this into an official mentorship program in the next few years.
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.
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.
These crops are grown without the use of chemical pesticides.
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.
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.
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.
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.
giving consumers the tools to find out where their food comes from and giving farmers and producers credit for the amazing work they do.
being clear about how food is grown, made, altered, and transported. To us, this also includes fostering a relationship between our food producers and our customers, and encouraging both to ask questions and give feedback to cultivate a mutually beneficial and honest relationship
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.
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. Keep an eye out for our line of prepared food and other value added products or preserved food in the months to come- it's in the works! This is a huge part of environmental and economic sustainability for us. We also feel that it's an ethical priority.