"A Challenging Expansion"--LNP's Story on Our Growth


LNP ARTICLE
Lancaster Newspapers published a fair overview of the company in today's paper. We were open about the challenges and difficulties building an organic food manufacturing company, and the bright road ahead. Tim did a good job expressing both the challenges and the opportunities ahead for us. 

It's all hard work. Sourcing is hard. Maintaining the organic certification is hard. Making sure the bread gets to stores on time is hard, especially when people get sick or schedule that pesky time off (which we do want people to take). There's a long list of hard, and a short list of easy. 

JOY OF MISSION
But we feel optimistic about our path here, the road ahead, and our ongoing commitment to our mission of hiring out of poverty, especially those with obstacles to employment. It can be a grind--patching together investment, running out of resources right when opportunity shows up--but for most of us it's a joy and an honor to work toward the the mission--to hire people out of poverty and partner with them in building this vision, to source from organic farmers as close to home as possible, and to serve our customers who depend on us for high quality, nutritious food. 

OUR ORGANIC BREADS & ROLLS
Our breads have always been very good, and now they're both very good and very consistent, and we can make a lot more. We can now make hot dog, hamburger, and sandwich rolls. We're selling in five chains and many independent stores, and our customers really love the bread, week after week. Learn more here.

BUYING OUR BREAD
If you haven't tried our breads, please do. You can find our breads on the store map, or email us at tasty at lancasterfoodco. 

A Giant Start for The Lancaster Food Company

On Friday, October 7th, The Lancaster Food Company will being selling our organic breads at three Giants in Lancaster, PA, followed by another eight closer to Philadelphia over the next several weeks. 

Tomorrow we start at the Lititz Pike, Centerville, and Stone Mill Plaza stores. You'll find our certified organic breads in the Natural and Organic sections on our wooden racks--they're hard to miss with the big Lancaster Food Company logo across the top. 

We're grateful to Giant/Ahold and their inclusion of us through the PA Preferred program, and their support of local food manufacturers that meet their exacting standards.  

If you're a Giant shopper,  we encourage you to give our delicious certified organic breads a try--starting at $3.99, they're locally made, certified organic, and always delivered fresh by us, your neighbors here in the great county of Lancaster, PA.

Giant at Stone Mill Plaza (credit unknown)

Giant at Stone Mill Plaza (credit unknown)

Certified Organic vs. Non-GMO Verified

Right up front, we want to make clear that we applaud companies that avoid using GMO ingredients. It’s a notable commitment on their part. But it’s also valuable to understand the vast difference between Certified Organic and Non-GMO Verified.

First and foremost, Certified Organic means non-GMO. It’s simple. Just like the Non-GMO Verified seal, the USDA Organic seal verifies that no GMO ingredients were used in the product.

That’s where the similarities end.

Certified Organic already means "non-gmo", and a lot more. No additional logo needed!

Certified Organic already means "non-gmo", and a lot more. No additional logo needed!

Non-GMO Verified only prevents a company from using ingredients that were genetically engineered. It does not prevent the use of harmful chemicals from being used to grow the ingredients, and it does not address the possibility of harmful chemicals entering into a food product at the many stages of production. As a result, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, synthetic fertilizers, and other harmful chemical additives, including cleaning products, can potentially find their way into your food.

The USDA Organic verification—while forbidding the inclusion of GMO ingredients—also prohibits the use of all other harmful chemicals at every stage in the production of each ingredient and also in the production of the final food product.

Put bluntly, the organic standard is far more rigorous, much harder to get and maintain, and addresses many more aspects of food production.

The Lancaster Food Company’s organic certification guarantees that we use only the purest, cleanest, safest ingredients possible and bake breads using old-world methods that completely avoid nasty chemicals that can hurt you, your family, and our world.

To prove that we are always in compliance with this strict organic standard, we are audited regularly by independent inspectors. We also routinely submit thorough documentation of every ingredient we use and prove we never adulterate a product with a non-organic ingredient. We do this with third-party audited records that verify the amounts we make and the formulas we use, and we match those records to invoices that corroborate what we purchase from approved and certified organic producers and suppliers.

We also document and share with our organic certifying agency (Pennsylvania Certified Organic) the details of our production process along with a complete list of approved cleaning agents (we use things like Simple Green, chemical-free high-temperature steam cleaners, and 7th Generation dish soap). The organic certifying agency then verifies that we do what we say we do during regular and thorough inspections. 

Maintaining organic certification is incredibly difficult. And the efforts we go through to maintain ours ensures that our products are always something we can all be proud to enjoy!

What Our “Best By” Date Really Means

“Best by” dates are a tricky undertaking. Some companies call it an “expiration” date, some a “sell by” date, some a “packaged on” date.

You might be surprised to learn that none of these terms are regulated by the FDA for food. Instead the FDA offers suggested guidelines. Ultimately, these useful dates are printed on packaging at the discretion of the company making the product. In our case, we use the phrase “Best By” because we think it most accurately reflects our goal for the date.

We work extremely hard with our completely natural ingredients to make products that have excellent shelf lives when stored at room temperature. We regularly test our breads under different conditions to ensure that they last at least beyond the “Best By” date we mark on it (even during these crazy hot days of summer).

Bread companies that use harmful unnatural preservatives can do all sorts of things to trick nature, but that comes at a real expense to your health and often the environment. We work with nature to create products that are healthy and earth-friendly.

For most of our breads, the Best By date is a full 10 days from when the bread is baked (the Cinnamon Raisin is dated for 18 days). All of our breads routinely last beyond their marked date at room temperature. We’ve had many marked for 10 days last as long as 14, even 16, days and the Cinnamon Raisin usually goes beyond three weeks.

You can always freeze our bread and then use it as you need it. It works great. The fridge works okay too, but it can make any bread a bit crumbly in our opinion, which isn’t an issue if you toast it. And there are plenty of uses for stale bread, like stuffing, bread pudding, croutons, or a buttery bread crumb topping for mac & cheese.

By the way, we print our Sell By date on the twist tie. It works well, although we’ve found that sometimes the date gets hard to read after the twist tie is reused a few times. We’re working on how to fix that, including a more durable type of twist tie.

We’re really proud of our shelf life. We never use any chemical preservatives and instead keep it fresh as long as we do using old-world techniques and time-tested ingredients to help you enjoy our bread for as long as possible.

That said, there’s no better approach to keeping bread fresh than enjoying it and buying it frequently!

Our New Super-Local and Super-Delicious Seeded Bread

UPDATE: In January 2017 we removed the sesame seeds from this product and no longer use sesame in any products.
(updated August 7, 2017)

Have you seen our latest creation? We hope you love it as much as we loved perfecting it! It’s called Seeded Heritage Grains and it’s made with 11 delicious and nutritious seeds and grains—many from right here in the Lancaster area.

seeded.jpg

Let us tell you a little something about the grains, because we’re really excited about them. We’re now sourcing whole grain local spelt, emmer, einkorn, rye, and stoneground corn from a mill about an hour north of where we make the bread. It’s ground fresh for us right before we pick it up, and it’s truly beautiful stuff.

All of these grains have been cultivated in different parts of the world for many thousands of years. They’re ancient and delicious, some studies suggest easier to digest, and they’re full of beneficial nutrients. And, of course, ours are grown and ground using only certified organic processes.

All the seeds—pumpkin, sunflower, chia, flax (we replaced sesame in early 2017), and poppy—are also certified 100% organic. We mix lots of seeds right into the dough so you get some in every bite, and we also coat every loaf with seeds for an extra-toasty flavor and crunch (and because it makes an amazing-looking loaf).

100% whole grains. 11 seeds and grains. Just a touch of organic Pennsylvania maple syrup. It’s a pound-and-a-half loaf of wonderful local goodness that we’re sure you’ll want to make part of your and your family’s everyday life.

Tasty Summer Iced Chai Tea

It's been hot! Here's a way to cool off--a delicious glass of Iced Chai Tea. Craig just sent this recipe and we can't wait to try it! It features organic maple syrup from The Lancaster Food Co, and is simple to make, and even easier to enjoy!

photo by Edie Lauer

photo by Edie Lauer

INGREDIENTS 

For Chai Tea:

1 cup water
1 bag of your favorite black tea
1 whole clove
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

For Cold Milk Mixture:
1/2 cup milk (soy, almond, cow, or whatever you like)
1 - 2 tbsp 100% pure maple syrup (depending how sweet you like it)

Pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg for on top


TO MAKE
In a small saucepan, bring the water, tea bag, and spices to a boil. Turn off the heat and let steep 5 minutes or so. Remove tea bag and whole clove and allow steeped tea to cool. (Tip: to speed the cooling, place the saucepan in a bowl of ice.) 

Whisk together maple syrup and milk. 

Pour cooled tea into a tall glass. Pour milk and maple syrup mixture into the tea, and add plenty of ice. Sprinkle top with cinnamon or nutmeg and enjoy!

Grade B Maple Syrup is now "Grade A Dark & Robust"

Grade B maple syrup—prized for its nutritional benefits and used as part of the master cleanse diet—is now called Grade A Dark & Robust. It’s also our newest organic product. And it’s really, really great!

Here’s a little background on what used to be called Grade B Maple Syrup….

For a long time, maple syrup producers were concerned that “Grade B” implied lower quality (you know, because a B in school is lower than an A). But in the world of maple syrup, the grade has nothing to do with higher or lower quality. It only refers to darkness, which is based on outside temperatures when the sap is collected from the sugar maple trees.

As temps warm up late in the brief maple syrup season, which lasts only from late winter to early spring, sap turns darker and the flavor gets more pronounced. When the late-season maple sap is boiled down to syrup (40 – 45 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of 100% pure maple syrup!), the resulting maple syrup is darker and more robust in flavor than early-season maple syrup. The quality is just as high, so it’s only a matter of which you enjoy more.

Serious cooks prize Grade A Dark & Robust (formerly Grade B) because it stands up to other bold flavors and is great in recipes. And those who favor darker more intense flavors reach for it ahead of its more delicate but equally delicious siblings, such as Grade A Medium Amber, which we also sell.

Grade A Medium Amber is lighter in color and considered by some to offer the ideal balance of natural sweetness and delicate maple flavor.

They’re both sourced from a single sustainable certified organic maple sugar forest in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania. They’re both bottled under strict organic standards, which get verified regularly. And they’re both incredible!

To us, they’re like children. We love them both equally but enjoy their wonderful differences.