Purchasing Guide

Puget Sound Food Hub
Guide to Local, Sustainable Food Purchasing

The Puget Sound Food Hub Cooperative is committed to fostering lasting relationships between farmers and their customers through trust and transparency. We strongly suggest that buyers read the farm profiles provided on our website (click here) and take time to talk directly with farmers about their growing practices. We serve farms in seven counties, in different microclimates and across a diverse bioregional food shed: Each farm may have widely varying practices. To help you learn more about farmers, we suggest asking the following questions:

General Questions

  • Why do you farm?
  • How long have you been farming?
  • Where is your farm located?
  • Who owns your farm?
  • How big is your farm?
  • What certifications from third party organizations do you have? (Certified Organic, Certified Naturally Grown, Salmon Safe, other).
  • How is your pricing determined?
  • May I come tour the farm?
  • How do you decide which products to produce?
  • Do you have any recipe recommendations/suggestions?

Produce (Vegetables and Fruit)

  • How do you deal with your weeds? insects? diseases?
  • Do you use ever use synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers on the crops?
  • Does the farm grow any heirloom varieties of fruits or vegetables?
  • Are any of the fruits or vegetables genetically engineered varieties?

Eggs

  • How are your hens raised? On pasture, indoors, caged?
  • How much time do the hens spend outdoors each day?
  • What kind of feed you use? Certified Organic? Sustainable? Source-Verified?
  • Are the hens ever given antibiotics?

Dairy

  • Are your cows raised on pasture? How much of the year do your cows spend on pasture?
  • Are your cows fed anything besides grass and hay?
  • What kind of feed you use? Certified Organic? Sustainable? Source-Verified?
  • Are your cows ever given rBGH?
  • Are you cows ever given antibiotics? If so, when are they returned to the milking rotation?

Hogs

  • How are your hogs raised? On pasture? indoors?
  • Are the hogs born on your farm?
  • How much time do your hogs spend outdoors each day?
  • What kind of feed you use? Certified Organic? Sustainable? Source-Verified?
  • Are your hogs ever given antibiotics?
  • Are your hogs ever given hormones or feed additives?
  • How do you process your hogs?

Poultry (Chicken, Turkey, Duck)

  • How is your poultry raised? On pasture? Indoors?
  • How much time do the birds spend outside?
  • What kind of feed you use? Certified Organic? Sustainable? Source-Verified?
  • Are your birds ever given antibiotics?
  • Are your birds ever given hormones, steroids or other growth promoters?
  • How do you process your poultry?

Cows/Buffalo

  • Are your animals raised on pasture?
  • Do you feed your animals anything besides grass and hay? Why?
  • What kind of feed you use? Certified Organic? Sustainable? Source-Verified?
  • How are your animals finished?
  • Are your animals ever given antibiotics?
  • Are your animals ever given hormones, steroids or other growth promoters?
  • How do you process your animals?

Value Added Products

  • Do you grow all your raw ingredients?
  • Where do you get your supplemental ingredients?
  • Are supplemental ingredients local? Organic?
  • Where do you prepare your products?
  • Where do you store your products?
  • What do you use for packaging?

Allergens

  • All Food Hub buyers are strongly encouraged to conduct due diligence when purchasing farm product. This is especially important when selecting high allergen products such as meat or dairy, or buying products such as raw sprouts. Food Hub Farmers look forward to sharing information about their production practices and answering any and all questions buyers may have.

*SOURCES:
Organic Consumers Assoc.
Rodale institute
Carolina Farm Stewards
Grace Links