5566 Randolph Road, Rockville, 301-816-
Founded in 1987, MOM’s now has 10
stores in Maryland and Virginia. These
bare-bones markets keep prices down by
locating in lower-rent areas. The chain
claims to have a higher percentage of
organic products than any other store in
the area, though there are no available
statistics to support that.
Produce: 100 percent organic; very fresh
looking; 30 percent is locally grown
Packaged items: 45 percent are organic.
Bulk items: One of the most extensive
selections, including detergents, sweeteners and tea; 64 percent is organic.
Proteins: Organic chicken, beef, pork,
lamb; fish is all frozen and sustainable,
with certification from the Marine Stewardship Council.
Extras: Free cup of tea or coffee. Coun-
WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
ORGANIC: A term used by the federal agencies that regulate
food. Crops must be free of synthetic pesticides (fungicides,
insecticides, herbicides), bioengineered genes or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers or sewage-sludge-based fertilizers. And the land on which
organic crops are to be grown must be free of those substances for three years.
Organic livestock and poultry can’t have been given antibiotics, hormones or feed containing animal byproducts, and
the animals must have access to the outdoors.
NATURAL: The Department of Agriculture is responsible for
the labeling of meat, poultry and processed eggs. To use the
term “natural” on any of those foods, the agency requires that
it meets these conditions: “minimally processed and free of
artificial colors and flavor, chemical preservatives and other
artificial ingredients.” The Food and Drug Administration is
responsible for labeling all other foods. Currently it does not
regulate the use of the word “natural,” though its definition is
similar to the one used by the USDA. In September, Congress
proposed legislation that would require the agency to regulate
the term “natural.” Meanwhile, popular usage has enlarged the
definition to include: the absence of growth hormones, antibiotics, hydrogenated oils, stabilizers and emulsifiers.
CLEAN: Sometimes used by consumers to describe a product that’s otherwise considered “natural” (and therefore
free of the aforementioned ingredients). It also means that
the product has few ingredients and that all of them are
BIODYNAMIC: Organic farming to the next degree, with an
emphasis on the use of composts and herbal and mineral
combinations. It’s a holistic approach to farming that follows
the principle that the growth of plants, the care of livestock
and the fertility of the soil are interrelated.
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE: An integrated system of
plant and animal production practices that over the long term
will enhance environmental quality and make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and food needs while
sustaining the economic viability of the farm.