By Julie Folino
I have always been a healthful minded person however a few years ago I learnt some things that surprised me. Things that changed and simplified my relationship with food, particularly with meat.
I had known for some time what ‘Organic’ meant in reference to fruits and vegetables however I was a little less educated about how to apply the term ‘Organic’ to the practice of raising and processing meat. What I learned was this: ‘Organic’ refers to a farming practice that most closely follows traditional all-natural farming methods.
In other words, no synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers or genetic modifications are used in growing crops or in breeding and raising poultry and livestock. Moreover no animal by-products are used in the feed. Livestock and poultry live in clean, healthy conditions, have access to open fields and pasture and are not kept in confinement. Certified organic products follow strict standards set by a third party certifying body such as EcoCert and Pro-Cert.
As I researched more I realized that it wasn’t about whether or not I should be eating meat but rather what type of meat was I willing to fill our bodies with. How far was our food traveling before making it to our table? What did that mean in terms of freshness, nutrition and sustainability? What food would make the best choice for us, our health and the environment. The answers were simple, local, traditional and nutritious.
I learned through Dr. Weston A. Price’s findings that fat was not the enemy but that conventional farming just might be. I learned that grass-fed or pastured animals have a significantly more beneficial vitamin, mineral and fat profile. 1
At the time, I shopped at a conventional grocery store and was daunted by the task of sourcing local organic grass-fed meat. That’s when I discovered BlossomPure Organic in Mississauga.
I was pleased to find that Fahim Alwan, the owner, over the past seven years had been developing a partnership with local Amish, Mennonite and certified organic farmers . His search for fresh local organic foods to feed his family led to the founding of BlossomPure Organic in 2002. Alwan had sourced the products, maintained the relationships with the farmers and made the products available to the general public. It was a fruitful discovery. (One that I could really sink my teeth into.)
Furthermore I learnt that BlossomPure not only offered local organic meat but that the meat was also halal. Now I am not Muslim so I did not understand exactly what that meant until I read an article in Toronto Life Magazine about BlossomPure:
‘ Not only is Alwan’s meat organic and locally sourced, it’s also halal – permitted under Islamic law…halal meat is gaining favour with secular customers. Because it’s usually processed on a smaller scale and often receives third-party certification from such organizations as the Islamic Society of North America, halal is becoming synonymous with quality, cleanliness, safety and superior animal welfare…the main difference between halal and non-halal meat is the method of the slaughter, traditionally done by hand. According to zabihah (the Islamic law of ritual slaughter), an animal should not see another animal die, nor the knife used to kill it. (Alwan) also employs a full-time slaughterman to travel to nearby processing plants to perform zabihah. (To minimize the animals’ stress, he puts the burden of travel on his slaughterman.)’2
Needless to say I was pleased. Because BlossomPure is located just west of Toronto I don’t have to travel to St. Jacob or any other farming area to fulfill my desire for local meat, dairy, deli, seasonal produce, fresh free run eggs, honey and other Mennonite products. I was also pleased to know that BlossomPure Deli Meats are made from organic meats without fillers, gluten or nitrates. This offered me a peace of mind after the recent listeria contaminations.
BlossomPure is not a full service grocery store but feels more like a farm store. The staff is friendly and is happy to take an order for one prime cut steak or an entire side of beef – cut and packaged to my specifications. I found the prices reasonable. I feel closer to the farmers that grow my food when I shop at BlossomPure because I know Fahim has a relationship with every one of them.
It doesn’t get much simpler than that and we could all use a little more simplicity in our lives and in our eating habits – don’t you think? Today, if you want to live a healthy lifestyle and keep up with the demands of the modern world you need to make an extra effort to do so. BlossomPure has helped me to do just that.
1. Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. “Splendor From the Grass.” The Weston A. Price Foundation’s Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts Quarterly Journal Summer 2000
2. Sasha Chapman, “Allah Mode.” Toronto Life Magazine November 2008