Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative (LFFC) is a nonprofit organic farmers cooperative located in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. LFFC and its farmers are driven to create healthy high quality foods, while staying focused on the small family farm. The produce harvested at LFFC is Certified Organic, unless otherwise noted. LFFC also stands behind growers who practice sustainable farming by supporting local farmers who use Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M.) methods. We had the opportunity to talk with Casey, General Manager, at LFFC who shared with us LFFC’s role is in the community.
Are most of the co-op farms within Lancaster County?
We currently have 115 Member Farmers that are part of LFFC. We work with 200 more in the local area that are not members of our cooperative, but we support their efforts. We have a strong network of growers that can share valuable information, like growing methods, with each other.
What do you think Lancaster Farm Fresh’s role is in the community?
Our role within the community is to support local organic farmers to get quality, nutrient dense local foods into the hands of the consumers. When people get our produce they can be assured that it was raised and taken care of by using the triple bottom line method (People, Planet, Profit).
In what ways does a co-op like LFFC support the small farmer?
We provide an outlet where they can get fair prices for their goods. We provide packaging, marketing etc., so our farmers can stay on the farm doing what they do best – growing great food. We have a group of committed farmers that network with each other. We also give 0% loans to the farmers to help them get through the lean season.
Now that Kimberton Whole Foods is carrying your Pastured Chicken can you tell us more about the conditions under which it is raised?
A small group of our farmers now provide pastured chicken. These birds are raised fully on pasture, receive only supplemental feed that is non-GMO, and are never administered hormones or antibiotics. This means that the chickens are out on grass foraging for bugs and other wild edibles for their entire lives. The birds have never, and will never, receive added hormones or antibiotics, and their feed will always be free of GMOs. Chickens raised on pasture are also naturally higher in Omega 3 fatty acids because of all the grass they consume. Our farmers regularly rotate birds to a fresh patch of grass to ensure that the quality of the pasture is maintained, and in the process the birds help build up the organic matter in the soil.
This is chicken raised right with integrity and care. The flavor of pastured chickens is superior to a barn-raised bird because of the pastured birds’ varied food sources and active lives. Barn-raised birds have a sedentary lifestyle and a nutritionally monotonous diet which affects the quality and provides less tasty meat.