Sourcing Standards

The products we sell meet our high sourcing standards, so you can feel good about everything you buy here!

Based on these standards, the food we sell is: 

Grown or created within the states of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by partners who treat their land, their animals and their ingredients with respect.

Since we grow small businesses along with our own, we’ve launched dozens of local food businesses, giving those producers their very first chance to sell their products on our shelves. As a small business ourselves, we understand the challenges of starting one, so we give our small, local vendors a five-year, post-launch window to comply with the standards below, and we help them get there.

When we source products that are important to rounding out our product mix, but which are not grown or created within the Watershed, we ensure that they meet our high standards of quality and environmental stewardship. We do not compete great, locally made products against non-indigenous national brands.

If products come from beyond the Watershed, but are domestically produced, we apply all of the standards below. If they come from outside of the United States, they must meet all of our sustainability criteria, and we offset the transportation emissions incurred in their travels to our stores. Preference is granted to Fair Trade Certified products.

We have partnered with the Chesapeake Conservancy to invest in local projects to reduce the impacts of climate change and improve the vitality of the Chesapeake Bay. Those efforts are intended to offset the negative environmental impacts of bringing in a small set of mindfully sourced products from beyond our region.

Our Food Is:

Grown or produced using farming practices that conserve resources, protect biodiversity and actively promote ecological vitality.

Grown or produced using practices that minimize synthetic inputs including pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, artificial flavors, additives or preservatives.

Produced by vendors who respect and invest in their workforce, and actively work to improve their communities.

Photo supplied by The Common Market

Our meat is raised humanely, without the use of antibiotics or hormones.

Livestock are fed a vegetarian diet and animals have access to the outdoors. Preference is granted to farmers that work to conserve resources, protect biodiversity and promote animal welfare.

Our fish and shellfish come from well-managed, environmentally responsible fisheries and farms.

Farmed finfish must be fed a vegetarian diet.

Our products are required to meet our high standards for taste and quality, as certified by our own Product Review Panel.

Our Product Review Panel is composed of longstanding members of our team, who we believe are best positioned to represent the needs and interests of our Neighbors. They consider taste, price point, packaging and narrative in their decision making process. Preference is granted to producers who respect seasonality and engage in efforts to promote resource conservation and mitigate the environmental impacts of production.

Every year:

We reassess our partnerships with established producers to ensure they are continuously meeting our sourcing standards and operating in a way that is consistent with our values.