Kosher Vegetables: What Our Kosher Certification Means for You

Food Poisoning

What Does a Kosher Certification Have to do with Salads?

Nowadays, there are many types of labels that get stamped onto your food. Non-GMO, rBST-free, Grass-Fed… the list goes on and on. These little stickers and badges convey important information to the consumer; however, it can often be overwhelming to fully learn what each one means.

Because of this potential for confusion, we thought that we’d take the time to explain FreshBox Farms’ newest seal. All of our greens are now Kosher Certified, which makes us the only Kosher Certified grower in Massachusetts.

8219080_origThis designation attests to the high quality and cleanliness of our hydroponically grown greens. These are aspects of FreshBox Farms products that are valued by both adherents and non-adherents to Kosher Law. So, it’s worthwhile to go into detail about what this certification entails and why it’s meaningful to you, even without a Kosher diet.

What does Kosher mean?

In essence, Kosher means suitable or pure, and refers to whether or not an item is fit for consumption. Regulations surrounding what items are Kosher are found in Jewish texts, such as the Torah, Mishnah, and Talmud, and have also been passed down through oral tradition. This collection of rules has been codified into kashrut, or Jewish religious dietary law.

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According to kashrut, food that is fit to eat must:

Come from certain animals (no pork, shellfish, or most insects)

Food Poisoning Causes: Viruses
Food Poisoning Causes: Viruses
Food Poisoning Causes: Viruses

Be slaughtered according to specific practices (called shechita)

Food Poisoning Causes: Bacteria

Not mix meat and dairy products together

Food Poisoning Causes: Parasites

What Determines If My Vegetables Are Kosher?

From what we’ve covered, it seems as though most aspects of Kosher Law refer to animal products. So, you might wonder: “If that’s the case, wouldn’t all vegetables be Kosher?”

The answer is a bit complicated, because, in nature, “all products that grow in the soil or on plants, bushes, or trees are kosher.” That said, not all vegetable or plant-based products that you buy in stores are actually Kosher, because of their possible contamination by insects.

As we’ve discussed, almost all insects are not considered Kosher. And, if you have ever been around a farm, or dug in the dirt in your backyard, you have likely seen quite a few bugs crawling about. The fact of the matter is that, if a farm is growing, packaging, and selling its veggies in bulk to grocery stores and other retailers, there is a high probability that some insect may have become incorporated into a portion of the end-product.

Ultimately, a Kosher Certified vegetable product must be completely insect-free. Because most farms grow in soil, the presence of insects is virtually inevitable. Therefore, most Kosher Certified vegetables that you see in stores have typically been triple-washed – a process that uses chemicals like Chlorine to disinfect produce.

In effect, this means that if you follow Kosher dietary laws, it can be nearly impossible to find Kosher products, like leafy greens, which are both locally-sourced and haven’t been exposed to chemicals.

Why is a Kosher Certification Relevant to Non-Adherents?

Even if you do not follow kashrut, seeing a Kosher Certification symbol on your veggies should offer you some additional confidence in your food’s background and how it was produced. In order to attain this certification, growers must have their entire production process thoroughly examined by an authority on Kosher Law.

In FreshBox Farms’ case, we received an audit by KVH Kosher—a division of the Rabbinical Council of New England, and one of the oldest and top Kosher Certification agencies in North America. Our farm and products were inspected for the presence of insects, and only after passing this inspection were we awarded the certification.

Subsequently, the Kosher Certification seal represents a layer of consumer education, in addition to our Non-GMO Project and Commonwealth Quality Program seals. And so, it further informs the shopper about the wholesome choices and decisions that went into growing his or her food.

FreshBox Farms Grows Kosher Vegetables

Kale-kvhFreshBox Farms is officially Kosher Certified. All of our produce is grown in soil-less, controlled-environment, hydroponic farms—enabling us to offer consumers incredibly clean, insect-free greens. Because our Kosher vegetables are grown using clean farming methods, they are also never exposed to any harmful chemicals and never contain any GMOs.

We are the only Kosher Certified grower in Massachusetts. Our farms are sustainable and support local stores—using 99% less water and land than traditional farms, and providing greens to Massachusetts’ markets within 24 hours of harvest.

Visit our website to see where you can buy FreshBox Farms products.