If you clicked through our site or scanned a QR code looking for more information about the products we serve, you’ve come to the right place. Below is expanded information on some of our sustainable practices at Founding Farmers, including links to learn more. We are always interested in hearing from you, so please e-mail us with comments or questions. Check back as we are regularly update this information.
What does sustainability mean? It’s about growing, buying and eating food that is good — for the people that eat it, the farmers that harvest it, the animals that produce it and the world that grows it. In general, we believe in using products from farms that practice important tenets such as:
- Conservation and Preservation: What is taken out of the environment is put back in, so land and resources such as water, soil and air can be replenished and are available to future generations. The waste from sustainable farming stays within the farm’s ecosystem and cannot cause buildup or pollution. In addition, sustainable agriculture seeks to minimize transportation costs and fossil fuel use and is as locally based as possible.
- Biodiversity: Farms raise different plants and animals, which are rotated around the fields to enrich the soil and help prevent disease and pest outbreaks. Chemical pesticides are used minimally and only when necessary. Many sustainable farms do not use any form of chemicals.
- Animal Welfare: Animals are treated humanely and respectfully and are well cared for. They are permitted to carry out their natural behaviors — such as grazing, rooting or pecking — and are fed a natural diet appropriate for their species.
- Economic Viability: Farmers are paid a fair wage and are not dependent on subsidies from the government. Sustainable farmers help strengthen rural communities.
- Socially Just: Workers are treated fairly and paid competitive wages and benefits. They work in a safe environment and are offered proper living conditions and good food.
(Excerpted from Sustainable Table, an organization that celebrates the sustainable food movement through consumer education.)
And we don’t take anyone’s word for it. We strive to stay educated and aware to make sure we’re always ahead of the game so you can trust that we are always serving you TRUE food and drink.
Meat & Chicken
Our beef is 100% all natural, hormone and antibiotic free. Our cows are open-range whenever possible, grass fed and grain finished. Why do we serve all natural beef and chicken? Because we care! But in addition to caring about the welfare of the animals and their caretakers, flavor is a main concern, and the products we serve boast superior quality and taste.
The chickens we serve are raised in minimal-stress environments and are free to roam and dine in an all-natural environment. They are all-natural, hormone and antibiotic-free. They are slowly air chilled after processing, which allows the retention of natural juices and does not dilute the natural juices. Processed chickens are individually graded and then shipped to us in recycled, reusable containers.
Eggs & Dairy
Eggs are a hot topic, and many major restaurant chains, food service companies, supermarket and food manufactures are moving forward utilizing cage-free eggs in their kitchens. Cage-free eggs are laid by hens not kept in battery-operated cages. Many egg facilities are also using manure-removal systems that keep hen houses clean and sanitary. Our eggs come from all-natural, hormone-, antibiotic- and cage-free egg-producing-only chickens.
Our butter, milk, cream cheese, whipped cream, buttermilk and more all come from free-range cows. They are 100% all-natural and hormone and antibiotic free — you can taste the freshness of our dairy products.
Fish & Seafood
We serve only wild line-caught or sustainably farmed (and never overfished) selections from sources that adhere to sustainable seafood practices and allow depleted fish populations to recover and reach healthy levels.
Additionally, according to The Alliance for Environmental Innovation, more sustainable seafood is often better quality. Seafood that is harvested or raised more carefully often has superior taste, freshness and purity. For example, Atlantic cod caught by hook and line is fresher than most trawl-caught cod because it is caught with smaller boats that make shorter trips. Farm-raised mollusks are typically cleaner and more uniform than dredged wild shellfish. And better-managed fish farming operations use few if any antibiotics, other chemicals or fishmeal.
When is seafood sustainable? Seafood is sustainable when the population of that species of fish is managed in a way that provides for today’s needs without damaging the ability of the species to reproduce and be available for future generations. This includes both wild and farmed fish. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program breaks it down:
- There is little environmental damage from the fishing gear or fish farming activity
- The population being fished is healthy and abundant
- There is little bycatch (the catching and discarding of unwanted marine life)
- The fishery or fish farm is well-managed
In 2010 we signed the Boycott Bluefin Tuna Pledge issued by the Center for Biological Diversity and agreed to never serve bluefin tuna in any of our restaurants. Any tuna on the menu is yellowfin tuna, caught in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and not currently considered overfished.
We also work with the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Recovery Shell Recycling Alliance and recycle more than 800 oyster shells per week. Oyster shell is a limited natural resource that provides crucial natural habitat for new oysters in the Chesapeake Bay and is used exclusively by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Hatchery for its oyster setting process. Collecting and reusing these shells has the ecologic benefit of enhancing the wild population with hatchery-produced stock, and also raises public awareness of the value of oysters to the Bay’s overall recovery.
Fruits & Vegetables
We are owned by 42,000 family farmers of the North Dakota Farmers Union, so produce is just as important as the chicken, meat and fish we serve. We receive deliveries of the freshest seasonal produce from family farmers every day except Sunday. We’re lucky to live in an area that has four seasons, and we relish each season for the different fruits and vegetables we get to cook with.
Biodiverse farms raise different plants and animals rotated around the fields to enrich the soil and help prevent disease and pest outbreaks. Chemical pesticides are used minimally and only when necessary. Many sustainable farms do not use any form of chemicals.