Animals raised with a free-range lifestyle have plenty of room to stretch out and eat bugs. This is particularly important for chickens, which need at least two square feet of space at all times. Factory-farming conditions are like living in apartment buildings in big cities: a co-op is formed within the coop, and the poultry have grinding meetings on where to put the satellite dish and how much to tip the doorman at Christmas. As in a human co-op, any new members deemed unsatisfactory or weak are pecked to death. Other free-range items, such as tofu, need less room to grow.
Pretty much everything is natural, including this sentence. What makes it natural? The fact that it has the word “natural.” The only things in this store that aren’t natural are the highly coifed blonds who shop here. Natural foods include any combination of natural flavorings, natural ingredients, and a high price, since it’s human nature to pay more for anything that we imagine will keep us alive forever.
Don’t let anyone see you buying this, or you’ll forever be associated with bridge games, Norman Rockwell paintings, and missionary-style sex in the minivan parked in the cul-de-sac. Conventional says, “I love the system,” and we’re not even sure why you’re shopping here. You don’t want paper or plastic—you have a bag made of the skin of a clubbed infant seal. Oh, you came to grind your own peanut butter? Great. Get your bulk items and go.
It’s not enough that the food is organic: in this case the packaging is also organic, and recyclable, with soy-based dyes and biodegradable ad copy. Organic Plus lets you eat the packaging (unless it’s wrapping organic chicken, in which case you are at risk of contracting organic salmonella). Many people mistakenly believe that Organic Plus provides larger portions for some of our hearty eaters, but that is actually Organic Extra Plus, a separate label.
This is food grown by local farmers who dislike you because you’re living in the subdivision that used to be prime farmland owned by their grandparents. Local food may be purchased at farm stands, which is where your children will someday be buying pot. If you buy local organic foods, you may skip dinner altogether and ascend directly to heaven, where you’ll be greeted by 72 varietals of virgin olive oil.
Food that has been harvested in the wild should be approached with extreme caution. Do you know where that food has been? Fans of rampion have been seduced by wild varieties and disappeared. Eaters of wild boar have been known to turn on the chef and relentlessly slaughter an entire restaurant until the boar’s bones have been found and put to rest. Wild foods found in our store are often riddled with armor-piercing bullets. Remove those before eating!
Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
This aquatic-foods certification comes from the international governing body of fisheries, located deep within the sunken capital of Atlantis, with additional feedback and low-pitch moans from the whales, the fish, and the merpeople. The application and scoring system are available at the MSC website, but, because of budget constraints, the documents have as yet only been translated into Mer. So far, certification has been somewhat capricious and species-centric: there are very clear regulations for dolphin-safe tuna but no provisions on tuna-safe dolphin.
Boiled down to basics (like a nice bouillabaisse), the certification can be achieved with an affirmative answer to any of the following questions:
1. Is the fishery run in a manner that is biologically sustainable?
2. Is the species harvested by the fishery incredibly ugly?
3. Is the species delicious when lightly grilled?
As a word of warning, the Surgeon General recommends you don’t eat toxics more than three to four times per week. To qualify for this label, a company must pass rigorous standards for disease, unsafe working conditions, and chemical disasters. Just like smoking, drinking, and spending time with your mother-in-law, toxic foods should be avoided by pregnant women. On the plus side, they are frequently on special.