Fresh Fork Market sources products from about 100 local farmers and artisan producers. Currently, all except one producer is within 75 miles.
The subscription packages includes vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, grains, and more. We offer omnivore packages that include everything; vegetarian packages that exclude meats; and vegan packages that exclude any animal products.
We get asked a lot if the products are organic. The short answer is no. There isn’t enough certified organic food readily available to us in the state of Ohio to satisfy my customers’ demand. However, just because it isn’t certified doesn’t mean that it isn’t produced organically or “naturally grown.”
GMO vs Non GMO
A GMO is a Genetically Modified Organism. It is a plant or animal in which the genetic makeup of it has been modified by scientists to include selective genes (DNA) from other animals or plants. The most common use of a GMO is in field corn and soybeans. Field corn is not sweet corn. Field corn is a corn raised for processing or animal feed. GMO field corn is often resistant to certain herbicides (such as Roundup) or have the herbicide bred into the plant itself. There is a tremendous amount of controversy about how safe these crops are for our planet and diet.
All the sweet corns we offer are non-GMO varieties. They are natural hybrids and they have been selected based on their flavor profile. Other hybrids you may see at farmers markets, such as Temptation, Bodacious, Incredible, Silver King/Queen, and Luscious, are also Non-GMO.
However, growing a good crop of organic sweet corn can be difficult. The crop needs lots of nutrients fast (usually requires fertilizer) and is attacked by many insects, particularly caterpillars and earworms. Other challenges include birds picking at the ears before they are ripe. Those ears are then missing several kernels and appear damaged to the customer.
For the insect problem, two solutions have been offered. We present this data to demonstrate that the term “GMO” is much more complex than one thinks. The first solution is to spray a pesticide. The most common pesticide is Dipel, which is an organic pesticide containing a bacteria derived from an African flower. The bacteria, bacillus thuringiensis, kills the larvae laid by the worms on the silk of the corn. If the larvae are not killed, they will eat the kernels.
The second solution is to develop a corn variety with the bacillus thuringiensis bacteria bred into the seed. These varieties, as designated by their BT-“Name”, are technically GMOs. Why would one prefer the BT variety? The primary reason is prevention of insect problems. Second, it reduces the need to spray a crop with a pesticide. Even though Dipel is organic, no one wants to spray if they don’t have to. It is expensive, time consuming, and not “targeted.” Even an organic pesticide can have negative side effects to the environment.
So in this argument, many farmers are starting to prefer BT varieties because it requires less maintenance, less chemicals, and less money. It is, however, a GMO which across the board has received a bad reputation in the marketplace.
Fresh Fork Market suppliers are largely small organic growers. The average tillable acreage of our vegetable farms is around 1 acre. The largest farm we work with grows about 30 acres of “specialty crops.” These producers want to grow organically because it make sense for the health of their farm and for their income statement! Chemicals, fertilizer, etc all cost money! If you’ve ever met a farmer, you’ll know that most of them are operating on very tight margins, and anything they can do to save on production costs is a boon to them. Composting makes fantastic fertilizer, anyhow and is cheap and easy to produce.
So what isn’t organic? Apples are a good example. We can’t find an organic apple grower in the state. The fruits attract lots of bugs and foliage disease. Sweet corn is another good example. Sweet corn is proned to “worms.” We haven’t found a customer yet who likes a worm in their sweet corn. Still, we prefer to work with farmers who minimize the use of chemicals and who look for natural alternatives to pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides whenever possible.
All meats and eggs used by Fresh Fork Market are 100% “pasture raised.” This means that the animal is free range and on organic pasture land. For ruminant animals, such as cattle and lamb, they get 100% of their diet from grass. For other animals that cannot completely digest the cellulose found in plant matter, their diet is substituted with the approporate grain mixture for that animal. These include things like corn, oats, barley, legumes, wheat, and minerals. These other animals include hogs, chickens, ducks, and turkeys. You never have to worry about our animals being fed animal by-products. All grains are locally grown and milled. The grains they are fed are not organic grains. Why? Because that would require shipping grains in from out West (thus defeating our goal to be sustainable). With locally grown grains, the animal may eat those grains much sooner after they are harvested. Fresher grains have more nutrients and are therefore better for the animals’ health.
All Fresh Fork Market meat products are hormone and antibiotic free.
While some of the finest cheeses in the world come from other countries, you can rest assured that at Fresh Fork Market we sell only local cheeses that meet our exacting standards. We work with artisan producers and small sized creameries to supply you with only the finest cheeses available in Ohio. Our cheese makers use only milk from grass grazed animals, and that the cheeses are made on the farmstead without chemical stabilizers or artificial ingredients. We often work hand in hand with our cheese makers to produce new and interesting cheeses that are exclusive to Fresh Fork Market.
Dairy & Eggs:
We only carry dairy products from grass grazed animals. Snowville Creamery supplies much of our milk and our customers love it as much as we do. We love it so much, that this is our one exception to the 75 mile radius rule that we maintain for our products. This high quality milk is not homogenized and is minimally pasteurized. It is quality that you can taste. We also offer a milk that is from a newer dairy that we buy from Wholesome Valley Farms. It is an all Guernsey cow herd. To read more about dairy, check out our milk page.
We love our eggs. We work hard to source only eggs that come from naturally fed chickens that are pasture raised. Of course, the chickens that produce our eggs are happy and healthy, and thus do not need to be fed hormones or antibiotics.
We are proud to offer a wide variety of organic grains. We sell wheat berries, spelt berries, cornmeal, and an assortment of flours from both spelt and wheat. We only sell whole grain flours.
Value Added Products:
Fresh Fork Market is excited and proud to offer a growing list of value added products. We work with local producers and hold them to very high standards. This means that as a Fresh Fork Market subscriber, you can be assured of only receiving only goods of the highest quality. We use only local, artisan products. They feature primarily, if not entirely, local ingredients. We produce some of the finest quality fruits and vegetables in Ohio and we want our products to make use of those ingredients. We sell the kinds of products that would like to make yourself. For example:
Humble Pie Baking Company, a local baker and manufacturer of pies and jams. Using only high quality ingredients, like lard from our pigs and local fruit, Humble Pie produces some of the finest goods available. When you order a pie, it is often delivered to us still warm from the oven and placed on our truck to deliver to you the same day.
Clark Pope Catering makes products like our roasted cherry tomatoes and barbecue sauce. The ingredients of these products is often sourced directly from Fresh Fork Market, so you can be guaranteed to receive only the best.