Applegate Farms, LLC, the nation’s leading natural and organic meat company and a division of Austin, Minnesota-based Hormel Foods, has launched a new line of fresh sausages under its New Food Collective brand.

The line is the first made with pork that has been certified by the American Grassfed Association (AGA).

The AGA standard mandates that hogs have maximum access to the outdoors, allowing them to forage and roam in woods and pasture and that, during the grazing season, they gather most of their food outside. It also requires farmers to develop a pasture-management plan to support biological diversity, natural resources and soil fertility.

Products in the new line include:

·          Sweet Italian Pork Sausage: laced with fennel, sea salt and pepper;

·          Hot Italian Pork Sausage: a fiendish combination of fennels seeds, chili flakes and cayenne;

·          Ginger-Scallion Pork Sausage: fresh and zesty, ideal on a bun or in dumplings and curries; and

·          Breakfast Sausage: a classic, elevated with the perfect balance of salt, sweet and heat.

“The American Grassfed Association standard is a leap ahead of anything else out there,” says Gina Asoudegan, Applegate’s vice president of mission and innovation. “The organization’s name focuses on pasture — and these new sausages deliver on that. But AGA also stands for no antibiotics, no genetically modified feed and the highest animal-welfare standards. You’d need five separate logos to replace what AGA does.”

The New Food Collective brand sources its meat from small farms in Georgia, Kentucky and Missouri that use regenerative agricultural practices, which are designed to improve soil, water retention and biodiversity. Applegate is also working with The Savory Institute, a pioneer in regenerative agriculture, to assess farm practices and create proof-of-impact metrics that can be shared with the public.

“At Applegate, we want to change the meat we eat, and this launch propels that mission forward,” says John Ghingo, Applegate’s president. “We’re making a big bet on regenerative agriculture as one of the paths to show the world that raising animals and eating meat doesn’t have to be problem. Animals can and do play a vital role in a healthy food system.”

The New Food Collective line features:

·          100% pasture-raised animals that are allowed to come and go as they please, roaming and foraging in the woods and pasture;

·          100% sourced from farms that practice regenerative agriculture;

·          No antibiotics ever;

·          Simple ingredients: No artificial ingredients, preservatives or added colors; and

·          Non-GMO feed: Animals’ diets are supplemented with only non-GMO grain. The American Grassfed Association certifies the grain through an affidavit program.

“Applegate is committed to investing in scaling up systems and production methods that raise animals right,” says Asoudegan. “Our products are made by food lovers for food lovers. And food lovers know that flavor starts on the farm.”