Composting: How-to Basics

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Did you know there is a difference between soil and dirt? Soil is nutrient-rich because it contains microorganisms, decaying organic matter, earthworms and other helpful insects. Dirt lacks all of those nourishing and living things. Even earthworms will not thrive in dirt—composting to the rescue! You can turn your dirt into soil with these composting steps.

composting in the back yard1. Pile vs. Bin

Decide whether you’re a super-DIYer and want to build a place for a compost pile in your yard or you’d rather use a bin. There are loads of simple plans for containing a compost pile online as well as various types of compost bins. Choose whichever best suits you.

2. Placement

You’ll want to find a spot in your yard to place your composting bin or pile. Ideally, this spot is not too sunny and easy to access from your kitchen. (The easier it is, the more apt you’ll be to continue your new composting routine!)

3. Save up Stuff

You’ve got your bin or pile space all situated and ready to go, now’s the time to rake your yard for dried leaves to use as the base of your pile. You’ll also want to start saving kitchen scraps of veggies and fruits. (Remember, no animal products can make their way into your compost pile!)

4. Layering

Ideally, you’ll want to have about three times as much dried matter to the wetter fruit and veggie scraps from your kitchen. Put down the dried matter first, then add your kitchen scraps on top. Add a layer of soil and a little water to moisten and there you have it—your beginning compost pile!

5. Turning

You’ll need to turn your compost from time to time. Also, if it is dry, give it a little water. If it smells, it has too much water, add some crushed leaves (not more kitchen scraps), turn it and that should do the trick! If it’s really dry, it needs to be turned and watered, or add more fruit and vegetable scraps.

6. Ready to Use

You’ll know your compost is ready to use when it looks like dark rich soil. Add it to your houseplants or garden—they’ll love you and so will the environment!

Tip: Crushing or shredding your dried yard leaves and cutting your kitchen scraps into smaller pieces will help your compost turn into usable compost more quickly.


Did you know?

Crushed egg shells are the only exception to the no-animal products rule in composting. Including them in your compost pile adds calcium—an important nutrient in helping plants build cell walls!

Blue Sky Soda

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Girl with Blue Sky

Founded on the admiration for blue skies and open air, Blue Sky Beverage Co. has been crafting soda that’s flavored by nature since 1971. Their sodas are made with real ingredients like pure cane sugar, are always caffeine free and come in a variety of cane sugar, zero sugar and organic flavors.

Shop Blue Sky Soda

Veganism: Where to Start

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If you’re new to veganism, avoiding animal-based products might seem fairly straightforward. However, there are a few things you’ll want to pay special attention to. We’ll help you navigate through these ingredient lists so you can steer clear of some potential hidden animal products that may surprise you.

Whey

Often used in baked goods, whey is one of those words you may or may not be familiar with—it’s the watery part of milk that is leftover after curds are formed in the cheese-making process. Because whey contains much of the lactose and about 20% of the protein in milk, it has become a valued byproduct. (It used to be something that got thrown away!) Whey powder is a mainstay in many non-vegan protein powders. Combined with other ingredients in processed foods, whey conveys a host of desirable properties—for this reason, you might find it listed in the ingredients for baked goods, beverages, dressings and a myriad of other products.

Casein

Another milk-based protein is casein. One of the two primary proteins in milk, it accounts for 80% of the protein in cow’s milk. You may also see casein in the ingredient list as caseinate or lactic acid which sometimes contains casein. Some foods where you might also see casein listed are margarine, non-dairy coffee creamer, cheese-flavored chips and snack crackers, as well as baked goods.

Vegan Marshmallows View RecipeGelatin

Created from the skin, bones and connective tissues of (typically) cows and pigs, gelatin can be found in things like candy (think gummy bears), gum, capsules used for supplements and marshmallows. A vegan substitute for gelatin is agar-agar. A flavorless gelling agent, agar-agar is derived from cooked and pressed seaweed.

Whether you want to gather ‘round a campfire and roast marshmallows, or just sneak a few from the pantry (we won’t tell) you can try this Vegan Marshmallow recipe—you’re friends and family will love them!

Natural and Artificial Flavorings

You might want to err on the side of caution with this phrase when you encounter it in an ingredient list as it can be either animal- or vegetable-sourced. Listed in the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, natural and artificial flavors are both described as able to include “meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof”—a pretty wide window!

Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamins and supplements are a part of many people’s healthy living journey. As a vegan, you’ll want to pay a little more attention to the labeling. Found in many multivitamins, vitamins A, D and B12 can be derived from animal products. Additionally, many supplements come in capsule format, which may be made of gelatin. When shopping for vitamins and supplements, it’s best to check the label and look for those that are labeled as vegan. 

Vegan Worcestershire Sauce View RecipeWorcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce seems to show up in loads of recipes that you may want to convert to your new plant-based diet. The ingredient that will kick this condiment from your fridge, however, is anchovies. But fret not—here is a vegan version you can whip up in no time!

Beer and Wine

It might come as a surprise that some wines and beers may not be vegan. After all, wine is made from grapes, and beer from hops and barley—all plants! Yet, some beers and wines might be made with non-vegan-friendly ingredients like dairy or honey. There is also the question of process: Animal products are often used in the filtering and fining, or clarification process of both wine and beer making. These include things like isinglass (from fish), sea shells, albumen (egg whites) and gelatin. Luckily, this website contains a comprehensive list of well over 35,000 beer, wine and spirits, showing whether they’re vegan-friendly or not.

Carmine

A naturally sourced red dye used in food and drink, the most surprising thing about carmine is its source—a bug! For centuries, red dye has been created from the cochineal bug that lives on the pads of prickly pear cacti. Rich in history, this bug-centric colorant eventually made its way into modern-day food production. Some other names you might also see carmine listed as include cochineal, carmine lake or natural red 4.

 

Did you know? Broccoli, bok choy, chinese cabbage, collards and kale are all great, non-dairy sources of calcium.

Sprouts’ Whole30 Approved® Foods & Shopping List from Melissa Hartwig

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Article by Melissa Hartwig, co-creator of the Whole30 program

If you follow me, you know I love shopping at Sprouts. While my first stop is always the fresh-cut flowers, the rest of the store is FULL of Whole30-friendly products. So many of you have asked me about my Sprouts hauls, so I’m here to share my personal Sprouts Whole30 shopping list. But first, in case you haven’t heard of our program yet … what IS the Whole30, anyway?

Whole30: A Reset, Not a Diet

Think of the Whole30 like pushing the reset button with your health, habits and relationship with food. For 30 days, you’ll eliminate the foods that are commonly problematic in one of four areas:

  • Cravings and habits
  • Blood sugar regulation and metabolism
  • Digestion
  • Immune system/inflammation

During the elimination, you’ll pay attention to what changes in the absence of these potentially problematic foods: energy, sleep, focus, mood, bloating, digestion, cravings, skin, aches and pains, and more. At the end of the 30 days, you’ll reintroduce those foods one at a time, like a scientific experiment, to identify the foods that may not be working well for you. You’ll use that information to create the perfect, sustainable diet for YOU—grounded in new healthy habits, keeping you looking, feeling, and living your best.

Shopping Guide

Fresh veggies, fruit, and herbs; meat, seafood, and eggs; natural fats; and pantry staples make up the bulk of your Whole30 shopping, but Sprouts makes it even easier!

Melissa’s Picks

DNX Bars

Meat sticks with grass-fed beef, veggies, fruit and healthy fats


Applegate

Natural and organic chicken sausage and hot dogs


Primal Kitchen

A variety of salad dressings and cold-pressed avocado oils


Tin Star Ghee

Now in one-ounce travel sizes for camping, Airbnb travel, or on-the-go keto-coffee

More Whole30 Approved® Brands at Sprouts

  • Big Tree Farms coconut aminos
  • Bonafide Provisions bone broth
  • Cece Veggie Noodle Co.
  • Crio Bru roasted cacao beans
  • EPIC meat bars, bites and strips
  • Farmhouse Culture sauerkraut
  • Hint water
  • Kettle & Fire bone broth
  • LaCroix sparkling water
  • Nick’s Sticks meat sticks
  • Pederson’s pork products
  • Safe Catch tuna and salmon
  • Seasnax seaweed snacks
  • Vital Proteins collagen peptides
  • Yai’s Thai curry sauces

VIEW WHOLE30 APPROVED BRANDS AT SPROUTS

Sprouts Brand Whole30 Favorites

  • Yellow mustard
  • Grass-fed ghee
  • Tahini
  • Kosher dill spears
  • Almond butter
  • Shredded coconut
  • Raw nuts and seeds
  • Coconut milk
  • Organic balsamic vinegar

VIEW SPROUTS BRAND WHOLE30 FAVORITES

And more! Sprouts Brand products are often great budget-conscious Whole30 options—just read your labels to make sure the ingredients are in line with the program rules.

For More …

For a step-by-step guide to the Whole30 rules, what to expect during the program and how to prepare, plus more than 100 compliant recipes featuring ingredients found at Sprouts, pick up a copy of The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom.

Melissa Hartwig

About Melissa

Melissa Hartwig is a Certified Sports Nutritionist who specializes in helping people change their relationship with food and create life-long, healthy habits. She is the co-creator of the original Whole30 program (whole30.com), and a five-time New York Times bestselling author. She has been featured by Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and CNBC, and ranked #27 on Greatist Top 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness in 2017. Melissa has presented more than 150 health and nutrition seminars worldwide, and is a prominent keynote speaker on social media and branding, health trends and entrepreneurship. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Meatless Recipes w/ PlantBasedonaBudget

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Facebook Live: Up your veggie game with Gardein

Thank you to everyone who joined us during our recent Facebook Live with Toni from Plant Based on a Budget featuring gardein! We enjoyed meatless meal inspiration with two tasty recipes. Check out the complete recipes here: https://bit.ly/2IiKtFz

Posted by Sprouts Farmers Market on Saturday, June 23, 2018

Each summer is filled with picnics, parties and barbecues. Whether you eat plant based regularly, take part in Meatless Mondays or simply want to know how to incorporate more veggies into your diet, Toni from Plant Based on a Budget has two easy and delicious summer recipes to share. Gardein is 100% plant based. Their products offer great texture and taste to every dish.

Chick'n Pesto Salad Overhead

Chick’n Pesto Salad

Ingredients:
  • Gardein Chick’n Strips
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. Sprouts Vegan Basil Pesto
Instructions:
  1. Pan dry the Gardein Chick’n Strips according to package instructions.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, red onion slices, cherry tomato halves and cucumber slices together.
  3. Add pesto and chick’n strips to lettuce mixture. Toss until evenly coated.

Beefless Tips Kabobs Layout

 

Beefless Tips Kabobs

Ingredients:
  • Gardein Beefless Tips
  • 6 pre-soaked wooden skewers
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 12 cremini mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 cup Sprouts BBQ sauce
Instructions:
  1. Thaw Gardein Beefless Tips for ten minutes.
  2. Preheat the broiler.
  3. Thread the skewers, alternating between tips, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, red onion and mushrooms.
  4. Create a single layer of kabobs on a baking sheet and drizzle with BBQ sauce.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

 

Plant Based on a BudgetAbout the blogger, @plantbasedonabudget:

Toni Okamoto is a purveyor of the plant-based lifestyle. She aims to spread awareness through her blog and has over 100,000 followers total. Toni has a plethora of recipes that can be found on her website and even more in her book, The Super Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook. You can find her on YouTube as well, showing What I Eat in a Day videos and grocery hauls. Check her out!

Instagram Logo @PlantBasedonaBudget                      YouTube Icon Toni Okamoto

Facebook_icon @PlantBasedonaBudget                       Twitter Icon @toniokamoto

 

Composting 101

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The Why

Nourishing to your plants, the environment and even your own wellbeing, composting is a pretty easy and straightforward endeavor. The EPA reports food and yard waste make up 20–30% of what we throw away. When those food and yard scraps make their way into the landfill, they break down anaerobically (without oxygen) and release methane. The less of this greenhouse gas we are able to produce, the better for the environment. Knowing you’re making a difference by utilizing those scraps to feed your plants and help the environment is good for you too!

Video Description: Creating & maintaining a compost pile is easy, here’s the 411 on how you can get started!

What if you don’t garden?

Even if you don’t garden in what you might think of as the traditional sense by growing your own fruits and vegetables, you might have a yard full of plants that could benefit from the extra nutrients in your DIY soil. Even without a yard, there are still plenty of things to do with your compost. If you have houseplants, they’ll benefit from the extra nutrients. Local schools may have garden programs and would welcome compost, likewise for community gardens in your neighborhood. If you like the idea of composting but don’t have space to dedicate to it, look for a curbside composting service in your area. These kinds of services usually provide the bins and all the education you’ll need to get composting quickly!

How to Get Started Composting

You can learn how to get started composting in our article Composting: How-to Basics. You’ll find even more details and helpful tips in our article Composting Cast of Characters.


Did you know?

Methane gas is 30 times more potent than CO2 (carbon dioxide), another greenhouse gas.

DIY Grill Cleaner

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This quick and easy non-toxic DIY Grill Cleaner by Kate Kordsmeier of Root + Revel is a must during summer! Homemade grill cleaner is not only safer and cheaper, but also makes a perfect Father’s Day gift. You just need four natural ingredients, no harmful ammonia, to cleanse your grill grates, improve taste, reduce gas expenses and prevent rust!

 

Grill Cleaner

You’ll need:

  • 1 Tbsp. Baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
  • 1 Tbsp. Cleaning vinegar (can substitute distilled white vinegar)
  • 1 ball aluminum foil (can also use a grill brush if preferred)
  • 2 Tbsps. Sprouts Avocado Oil Spray

Instructions:

  1. Fill a shallow tin (I recommend an aluminum baking tin) with boiling water and stick it in the lit grill. Close the lid and let steam for 10 minutes to loosen any dirt, grime and stuck on food. Remove water pan and turn off heat when ready to clean.
  2. Meanwhile, combine baking soda and Sal Suds with 12 ounces of warm water. Pour into a glass bottle fitted with a sprayer and add vinegar. Gently swirl to combine. Spray cleaning mixture onto grill to thoroughly coat the grates. Ball up aluminum foil until it’s the size of a baseball and scour the grill to clean. If you prefer a grill brush, that works great too.
  3. Once the grill is clean, spray avocado oil onto a paper towel and give your grill a quick wipe over to stop it from rusting and season it for future use.

About the Influencer:

Kate Kordsmeier, Food Writer, Recipe Developer and Founder of Root + Revel

Kate Kordsmeier is a food journalist and restaurant reporter turned real food expert after her own chronic health issues (PCOS, Hypothyroidism + IBS/Leaky Gut) catapulted her into a long journey of trying to heal her body naturally. Today, she blogs full-time over at Root + Revel, a natural living site helping people strike the balance between good and good for you.

DIY Father’s Day Gift Baskets

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Still searching for a last minute Father’s Day gift? Check out these DIY gift baskets your dad will love!

Father’s Day is coming up fast, and you may still be looking for the perfect gift for dad. A gift basket personalized just for him is a great, practical gift any dad would be excited to receive. Get some inspiration from these easy, DIY gift basket ideas created by our friends at Fresh Mommy Blog; Food, Pleasure & Health; and Root + Revel!

The Manly Pampering Gift Basket by Fresh Mommy Blog

While dads might not purchase pampering items for themselves, it doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy a manly pampering gift basket, or a “man-pering” basket! Impress dad with natural products that smell incredible and give him the gift of taking his morning routine up to the next level.

Fresh Mommy Blog

 

Supplies:

From the grocery section:

  • Lucky Jack and Sumptown Cold Brew Coffee
  • Tillamook Country Smoker Beef Jerky

From the body care section:

  • Cologne – Dusk by Herban Cowboy
  • Aftershave – Dusk by Herban Cowboy
  • Beard Oil – Bull Dog
  • Soap –The Grandpa Soap Pine Bar
  • Razor – Every Man Jack
  • Deodorant – Dusk by Herban Cowboy
  • Body brush or natural sponge – Bass Brushes

From a craft store:

  • Bucket

Instructions:

  1. Start with a color theme! Choosing a color theme really completes the overall look of the gift. While browsing the bath and personal care aisles of Sprouts, the masculine, neutral color theme of black and brown popped, not only because so many of the men’s products fell into this color range, but I truly loved the packaging and the scents.
  2. Gather any items that would make dad feel special, and don’t forget the little touches that he might not purchase for himself. A cologne is a top gift for dads, as well as shaving products. Add some soap and deodorant, as well as a body scrubber, to complete his pampering routine.
  3. Next, it’s time to add a few extra treats. I stuck with a masculine theme, and our color scheme as well, and went for beef jerky.
  4. Don’t forget something to drink! What does the dad in your life love to drink? You could find a good beer, and I love that Sprouts stocks their beer section with local brews, so there’s always something new to discover. Is dad a coffee drinker? There are some amazing cold brew available, too. Whatever you choose, try and stick with the color theme.
  5. Choose an unexpected container to use as a gift basket! A tool box or wooden tool chest, a cooler or an ice bucket… the list goes on and on. A great container is like a gift in itself.
  6. Once you’ve settled on a container, load it up with the goods and some shredded paper, which helps with the natural masculine feel, keeping in mind height and placement.
  7. Give dad his gift and watch his face light up!

 

Grilling Guru Gift Basket by Food, Pleasure and Health

Surprise your dad with a gift basket filled with essentials for both indoor and outdoor grilling.

Food, Pleasure & HealthSupplies:

From the grocery section:

  • Sprouts Original Barbecue Sauce
  • Sprouts Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
  • Colgin Liquid Smoke Natural Hickory Original
  • Sprouts Avocado Oil
  • Sprouts Grapeseed Oil Spray
  • Organic Sprouts White Corn Tortilla Chips
  • Farmhouse Culture Zesty Garden Veggie Kraut Krisps
  • 2 boxes Sprouts Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese
  • LaCroix Natural Lime Sparkling Water
  • Pamela’s Honey Grahams Graham Style Crackers
  • Sprouts 54% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Bar
  • Sprouts Toffee Caramel 33% Milk Chocolate Bar
  • Cabo Fresh Authentic Guacamole
  • Mocajete Salsa Roja Cup
  • Sprouts Broccoli Slaw
  • Mix of veggies, like bell peppers, squash, onions
  • Fresh ground chicken breast
  • Butcher Shop boneless, skinless chicken breast

 

From the body care section:

  • Everyone Lavender & Aloe Lotion
  • Everyone 3-In-1 Lavender & Aloe Soap

From a craft store:

  • Basket or galvanized tub
  • Cardboard
  • Tissue paper
  • Fabric
  • Cellophane bag

Instructions:

  1. Gather all the supplies from your favorite craft store such as basket, galvanized tub, cooler, riser, tissue paper or fabric for décor.
  2. Purchase all the groceries including produce, meat, condiments and personal items from your local Sprouts.
  3. Lay the basket or galvanized tub flat on a floor and put empty cardboard box or riser for height.
  4. Cover the riser/cardboard box with tissue paper or fabric.
  5. Arrange the non-perishable ingredients – think about color combination and height to make it visually appealing.
  6. Cover with cellophane bag, bows or other decorations as desired.
  7. Add ice to the cooler and pack it with perishable items like produce, raw meat, etc.

 

Mindful Man Gift Basket by Root + Revel

This Father’s Day, instead of picking just one gift for your mindful man, how about putting together a fun collection of delicious, yet healthy, foods and practical personal care products that he is bound to love?

Supplies: Root + Revel

From the grocery section:

  • Hope Foods Buffalo Blue Hummus
  • Sprouts Organic Blue Corn Chips
  • Surf Sweets Organic Candy
  • Sprouts Organic Pink Salt Popcorn with Coconut Oil
  • Sprouts Organic Salt + Vinegar Chips
  • Sprouts Organic Teriyaki Beef Jerky
  • Sprouts Thai Chili Beef Jerky
  • Wild Tonic Blackberry Mint Jun Kombucha
  • La Colombe Draft Latte in Vanilla and Mocha

From the body care section:

  • Dr. Bronner’s Shaving soap
  • EveryOne soap for Every Man
  • EO Lotion for Men
  • Badger Anti-Bug Balm
  • Badger Beard Oil
  • Sprouts Salt Stone Deodorant
  • Gaia Herbs Male Libido Supplement

Instructions:

  1. Rather than using a girly gift basket that the Father in your life will likely toss or forget about entirely, wrap all these healthy goodies up in something they’ll actually use. I opted for a veggie grill wok because what dad doesn’t love to grill?
  2. Gift and watch dad enjoy all his goodies!

What is rBST?

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Cows grazing in a field

Cows naturally create bovine somatotropin (BST)—it’s a hormone produced in the pituitary gland. The “r” in front of BST stands for recombinant which means it’s genetically modified using recombinant DNA technology.* That’s something created in a lab, not in a cow. You may also have seen it labeled rBGH or recombinant bovine growth hormone.

In 1993, the FDA approved the use of Monsanto’s injectable rBST formula called Posilac. Why would a cow need rBST/rBGH? Simply put, it is used to increase a cow’s ability to produce milk.

Although the dairy industry has been allowed to use rBST in their cows for decades, we believe GMO- and rBST-free milk is best. We’ve got a fantastic selection of delicious cheeses—next time you’re in the store, swing by our deli section and check out the 21 varieties of bulk-cut cheeses (hand cut in-store) that are rBST-free!

 

*Recombinant DNA technology is the joining together of DNA molecules from two different species that are inserted into a host organism to produce new genetic combinations that are of value to science, medicine, agriculture and industry.

Wild-Caught vs. Farm-Raised Fish

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Which is better, wild-caught or farm-raised fish? The answer is both—there are pros and cons to each. While we might refer to them collectively as fish or seafood, multiple species, including crustaceans (shrimp) and bivalves (oysters, mussels, clams and scallops), can be considered either wild-caught or farm-raised.

Wild-Caught

Wild Caught Fish Just like it sounds, wild-caught fishes are caught in their native habitat using nets, hand-lines, divers or traps. Wild-caught can be a healthier choice for a variety of reasons. They eat a natural diet in their native habitat which means they are potentially exposed to less man-made pollutants. The reverse side is that some fishes may contain more mercury and/or were not responsibly sourced. A logo to look for, when purchasing seafood, is the Marine Stewardship Council logo. Buying products with this logo ensures it was responsibly sourced. MSC Logo

Visit the Marine Stewardship Council website.

 

Farm-Raised

Farm Raised Fish Also known as aquaculture, fishes that are farmed don’t endanger wild populations—a great reason to choose them. But it can have drawbacks including crowded conditions, toxins, pesticides, antibiotics and parasites. Take heart though, when you see the Best Aquaculture Practices Certified logo, you know you’re getting responsibly farmed fish. BAP certifies the entire production chain: farms, feed mills, hatcheries and processing plants—so you can feel good about the seafood you’re serving your family! Best Aquaculture Practices Logo

Visit the Best Aquaculture Practices website.