Buying From Farms – The Questions You Should Ask

The Healthy Traditions Network has been developed with the intention of assisting you in your search for nutrient-dense foods. Our goal is to encourage our members to get to know the farmers growing their food and to build mutually supportive relationships. Buying locally allows you to have input with the farmers growing your food while it supports small family farming practices. Other benefits of buying locally include buying foods at their freshest and most ripe, with little nutrient loss due to transit time from farm to you. The financial resources used to purchase your foods stay within your community and support more ecological practices

Finding the type of food recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation is the ideal for which we are striving. However, in reality, meeting all those standards may not be that easy to find at our local farms. By getting to know where your food comes from, you will be able to make informed choices allowing you to choose which standards are most important to you and are most closely embodied by the farms from which you choose to purchase. It is the responsibility of the consumer to verify the information at a farm where they intend to purchase their food.

YOU, as a consumer, are the bottom line in determining what quality of food is acceptable for your consumption, and YOU are also responsible for finding out how a farm produces its products. We strongly suggest that you visit the farm. The following are possible questions to ask a farmer about the products you are considering for purchase.

What products are available on your farm?

Where can your products be purchased?
(i.e., direct from farm, local stores, farmers’ markets, etc.) If sold at farmers’ markets, which one(s) and what is the season? (i.e., June-October)

What are your farming practices?

  • Grass-fed/pastured?
  • Certified organic? Ask to see proof of certification.
  • Transitional? Ask if proof is available.
  • Biodynamic? Ask if proof is available.
  • Natural or sustainable? Define what that means on their farm.
  • Conventional?

If not certified, are any of the following used on your farm?

  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Antibiotics
  • Hormones
  • Parasiticides
  • Any other chemicals

How do you maintain soil fertility?

  • What inputs do you use?
  • How often is your soil tested?

What is the breed of the animal?
What percentage of the time is the animal outdoors?

Summer Diet

  • What percent of the diet is grass?
  • If commercial feed is used, what is in it?

Winter Diet

  • What percent of the diet is grass or hay?
  • If commercial feed is used, what is in it?

If pastured, how often is pasture rotated?

If commercial feed is used, is it GMO (genetically modified organism) free?

Are the animals fed soy?

Are animals grain finished?
If so, for what period of time?

Is it a closed herd?
If not, how are new animals added to the herd?

What types of treatment are used for sick animals?


How do I contact them for processing options?

  • What types of cuts are available?
  • What are the packaging options:
  • Type of wrap available?
  • Number of cuts or pounds per package?
  • Ask for bones, fat and organ meats.

Is the facility certified organic?

Are the slaughter practices considerate of the animals?


  • Is there anything special or unique about your farm?
  • When is the best time to call you or visit the farm?
  • How is payment of goods handled?
  • Continue to ask for your animal products to be pasture-fed and not raised on soy.
  • Let the farmer know what you would like him/her to grow.

We hope these questions will be helpful in building quality relationships between consumers and quality food sources.