Food brings us more than nourishment; eating good food can produce health, strength, comfort, purification, and community togetherness. Growing food (and understanding how that works) helps us to remember essential realities about being alive. The nourishment of the living earth combined with human creativity and skill is a magic formula for a multitude of tastes, textures, colors and delights.
Food as it once was; food as it is, made right: this is what we sell and what we love. Am I a sensualist? Oh, yes. The midnight blue sheen of a really ripe blueberry intoxicates me. Cloaked in the piney bite of the juniper berries cured with the cabbage, the deep nutrition of a live-cultured saurkraut gives megadoses of calcium and vitamin C. A handcrafted, fairly traded chocolate made with heirloom cacao leaves no bitter taste in my mouth but the acidity of the bean well mastered.
Because we love food and celebrate the joy of eating, our food philosophy at Common Crow embraces all food styles, diets and foods, as long as they meet our strict traditional, natural and organic standards. At Common Crow, we know that 'health food' is not some kind of nutritional sack-cloth-and-ashes but rather the way eating once was, and can be again.
As an herbalist and habitual student of both business and the plant world, I need to know where (and who) my food comes from. I think you should know, too. We welcome your questions about the food we sell when you shop. My priviledge in owning a food store is that I get to decide exactly what we offer to our neighbors, and select only the best choices that we love the most, produced by people whose livelihoods we want to support.
Most big grocery stores sell products twice. First they sell shelf rental space to manufacturers (called slot fees) who can pay the price to guarantee their product will be the one you see (and buy). Then you buy the product. Ours is a different kind of store. We are not indebted to any of our producers to guarantee them any more exposure than they've earned from the product's own merits. Each product has to earn its space on our shelves by meeting the following standards:
- it's certified Organic, Biodynamic, or grown without chemical inputs (the real meaning of 'natural') or responsibly wild-harvested
- The production is 'local' - meaning we aggressively advocate businesses and agriculture projects as close as possible to Gloucester.
- the money goes to people we want to support :the business is owned by a family, nonprofit or co-op, and if corporate, is not under ownership by a company whose values we can't support. We prefer independent companies under original ownership. We know which companies are cloaked (the ownership by a large corporation is hidden) to the best of our ability, and we exclude these makers/growers.
- We DO NOT sell factory farmed meat, dairy or eggs. We buy natural meat and dairy exclusively from regional processors who handle only small family farm animals and whose feed protocol, humane standards and medical treatment requirements meet our high standards. We avoid farmers who feed soy or corn to their animals. Most of our meat is 100% pastured and grass-fed, and some of it is Certified Organic.
- We maintain real relationships with our processors and hold them accountable for truthful full disclosure about the sources of our meat and dairy products.
- We don't allow artificial color, preservatives, flavorings or additives in anything we sell. EVER.
- We offer foods that conform to our "Real Food" philosophy. That means we sell things that are made using ancient food preservation methods: fresh, lacto-fermented, dehydrated, cured, canned, frozen without chemical additives or preservatives.
- We highly respect the artisanal crafts of cheese, charcouterie, baking and lacto-fermentation and look for exceptional producers, preferring locally made but welcoming excellence from around the world.
- we limit the amount of sodium in prepared foods, offer allergen-safe foods for a variety of needs, and avoid manufactured foods with ingredients that are not part of traditional eating styles. We hope you'll come and taste the foods we've found that meet our high standards.