We love to eat, and so do our guests. Each tour season, we receive an abundance of tour evaluations praising our menu and food preparation. We know our guides are some of the best chefs in the industry and pride ourselves on our freshly prepared dishes.
We are taking it even further. We want our guests to not only enjoy our food, but to also know where it came from. We are committed to providing our guests with healthy and environmentally sustainable meals. This includes purchasing wild or free-range meat and fish, buying certified organic produce, grains and dairy, and scouring product labels for snacks and sundries that are free of partially hydrogenated oils and unnecessary ingredients.
But what does that mean? In a world filled with buzz words we also aim to educate:
What does the term "certified organic" mean?1
Although the basic definition of "organic" is "living", the National Organic Standards Board defined "certified organic" at their meeting in April 1995 as follows: "Organic" is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act. The principal guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole.
Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water. Organic food handlers, processors and retailers adhere to standards that maintain the integrity of organic agricultural products.
How is organic produce certified?1
Farmers must grow produce for three years without the application of synthetic pesticides or chemicals. The farm, its equipment, and any processing facilities are inspected by an independent agency unaffiliated with the grower, the processor or the vendor, and are then issued a certificate from that agency certifying the farm's produce as "organic."
What is Local Food?2
In general, eating local means seeking out food raised as nearby as possible. For a person living in New York City, apples grown in Maine would be considerably more local than apples grown in Washington State or New Zealand. Ideally, local food means the buyer can meet the farmer or food maker and find out details about how the food was raised, and that the crops and livestock are unique to a certain area.
In years to come, we would like our guests to praise us not only on our finished meals, but also on our buying decisions and our dedication to the natural food industry.