What is Organic?
Neighborly Farms of Vermont is a USDA Certified Organic Producer.
That means that we comply with strict guidelines, and submit to regular inspection of our facility by an organic certifier for the right to us the USDA Organic label, indicating that our product is at least 95% organic. The VOF [Vermont Organic Farmers] inspects our pastures, livestock facilities, milking facilities, and creamery annually and verifies to the USDA that we are complying with all applicable practices. As organic farmers, we attempt to emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations, and treat our animals humanely. The milk for our cheese comes from cows that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. In addition, they are never treated with any petroleum-based products, and the list of approved treatments is limited, and emphasizes natural products. Many times, the fanciest thing we use on the cows is aspirin! The “girls” are out on pasture whenever possible and are out of their stalls for at least a couple of hours a day when it’s not. We grow all of our own hay without using pesticides or chemical fertile-izers. In short, it’s a simple, clean, safe, healthy operation, and our drastically lower veterinary bills attest to the wholesome lifestyle of the cows.
Water and salt are not certifiable as organic, but for your information, our water source is a continuously flowing underground spring that provides more than enough water for the animals, our creamery, and the Dimmick’s house. So much water in fact, that there is a small stream created by the excess that we hope to use to humidify a cheese aging cave, and perhaps some day even generate electricity with it! The water is delicious, and regularly inspected by the state to ensure its purity and safety. The salt we use is a food-grade evaporated salt. That means it is produced from a salt mine where they flood the shafts with water, allow a brine to develop, withdraw the brine, allow the water to evaporate, and then harvest the salt. There are no anti-caking agents or iodide added to it, but it looks just like your table salt. The vegetable rennet, vegetables, and herbs are all certified organic.