Know how. Know now.
From border to border in Nebraska, UNL Extension is making an incredible impact on the success of our state — its youth, its families, its farms and ranches, its communities, its economy. Please check these websites for more "know how, know now" information.
When purchasing local, fresh food it is important to know HOW to choose the best of local fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, milk, cheeses, nuts, etc. - whether you are purchasing local foods for the first time or are a long-standing customer! Often, if you are purchasing direct from the producer (farmer or rancher) you can talk to them about the difference between their products and others or the difference between their own products because they are the experts! If you are purchasing locally from a grocery store, ask the manager of that department.
The phrase "eating a rainbow" of fruits and vegetables is a simple way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible, so that you can maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are a small clue as to what vitamins and nutrients are included. By getting a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables, you are guaranteed a diverse amount of essential vitamins and minerals.
According to the food pyramid potatoes are not counted as a vegetable, as they are consist mostly of starch and should be consumed sparingly. For more information on how to "Eat Right with Color," visit ADA's National Nutrition Month website for a variety of helpful tips, fun games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources.
Red Fruits & Vegetables
Orange and Yellow Fruits & Vegetables
Green Vegetables & Fruit
Blue and Purple Fruits & Vegetables
White Fruits & Vegetables
Beef & Pork Whole Animal Buying Guide by Iowa State University
Livestock and Meat Marketing Terms by Iowa State University
- Certified Organic—Livestock must be raised on a “certified organic” farm or ranch according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards. Farmers certify their land by working with an accredited certifying agency, such as the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Organic livestock must be organic from gestation, fed only certified organic feeds and processed organically by the butcher (a separate certification process undertaken by the processor).
- Naturally Raised—According to the USDA, this means livestock are raised without growth promotants or antibiotics, and never fed animal by-products. NOTE: This claim is different from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) term “natural,” which means that a meat product does not contain artificial flavors, colorings, chemical preservatives or other synthetic ingredients, and is minimally processed.
- No Antibiotics—This means the livestock never received
- No Hormones—This means the livestock never received growth hormones. NOTE: Federal law prohibits giving hogs growth hormones.
The following terms apply to cattle, not hogs:
- Grass-Fed—According to the United States Department of Agriculture, this means that the cattle ate only grass and forages (leafy plants), never grain or grain by-products, and had continuous access to pasture during the growing season. Grass-fed cattle may or may not be organic.
- Corn-Fed—Most cattle are fed grain—usually corn—towards the end of production to increase their size and marble their meat.
- Corn-fed cattle may or may not be organic.
The following term applies to hogs, not cattle:
- Pastured or “Pasture Raised”—While not an official term, this typically means that the hogs were raised spending most of their time outdoors on pasture. There are many variations of this claim. Ask the farmer specifically what he/she does.
The following terms apply to meat, not livestock:
- Halal—These meats come from animals that have been slaughtered and processed according to Islamic law and certified by an Islamic authority.
- Kosher—These meats come from animals that have been slaughtered and processed according to Jewish law and certified by a Jewish authority.
- Natural—A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and which is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product). Different from “naturally raised” (see previous page).
A beef carcass is first divided into eight large sections, known as primals. These are then cut into individual roasts or steaks, depending on customer preference. This pdf will explain which cuts are available from each of the following eight primals:
A pork carcass is first divided into four large sections, known as primals. These are then cut into individual cuts and roasts, depending on customer preference. This pdf explains which cuts are available from the following four primals:
*Information and pictures provided by Iowa State University.
Additional Buying Locally Resources
BFBLN Comments & Suggestion CardsComment & Suggestion cards for BFBLN-what can we do to help make purchasing and consuming local produce easier?
ATTRA (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service)
ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and is funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service. It provides information and other technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, Extension agents, educators, and others involved in sustainable agriculture in the United States. (ATTRA was formerly known as the "Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas" project.) - information provided by AATRA website
Visit their website and learn more about:
- Local Food Systems
- Energy Alternatives
- Beginning Farmer
- Field & Horticulture Crops
- Livestock & Pasture
- Marketing, Business & Risk Management
- Organic Farming
- Pest Management
- Soils & Compost
- Water Managment