What are natural products?
Our definition of natural produce is fruits and vegetables and that do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMO), that have been tested for pesticide residues and are not coated with petroleum based food grade waxes. Presently in Canada we have no companies that test for pesticide residues, not even our Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The CFIA agency will only test produce if a complaint has been made from a consumer. Our definition of Natural Meat is meat that has been raised without hormones and antibiotics, lactose and gluten free and that contains no nitrates or phosphates (deli meat and sausages).
Our experience has been that certain natural farmers who are certified from companies such as the Scientific Certification System (SCS) and Primus Labs have been proven to grow high quality produce similar to some organic farmers. These natural farms have also been tested for pesticide residue.
Even in organic farming, waxes are used such as Lac Resin which is a resin-like substance secreted by certain lac insects or Beeswax. For example, an organic certified field cucumber grown in Mexico is sometimes coated with a food grade wax which cannot be removed. We do not yet know of any long term effects this wax can have on the body. Therefore, we do not sell organic field cucumbers coming from Mexico, but only from Quebec in the summer. We prefer during the winter months to sell you a non-organic but natural green house grown Lebanese cucumber or an organic English cucumber which both do not have any waxes. It is almost impossible to know what type of wax or coating is used in conventional or even in organic produce unless you know the farmer or grow the food yourself. Luckily, in our case, we do know personally some of the farmers who supply our business and your table!
Yet another example is found with organic mangoes. Ninety-five percent of the time, mangoes coming from anywhere in the world to the Montreal market, are tasteless and never ripened. Ninety percent of our clients prefer a natural mango, usually the palmer variety that originates from Brazil where they are harvested at full ripeness. Brazilian mangoes are so sweet and juicy that you sometimes have to eat them over the kitchen sink! We prefer these mangoes, better than any other that we've tasted after being in the organic food industry for over 10 years.
It is important for us that our clients experience the taste of the best organic and natural food available. Before purchasing and selling any produce, we read labels on produce boxes in order to see what coatings were used and visually inspect and taste the product. Being in the food industry since 1979 and coming from a family with experience in farming, allows us to make better and safer food choices. Our first choice is always organic but if a product our client chooses is not available or is poor quality, he/she can choose to buy its natural counterpart that has been tested for pesticide residue and that is non GMO. What we are trying to say is that basically we are the watch dog, because we want to feed our clients and our families the cleanest and best tasting products available on the market!