Artisan House Glossary of Food Terms

A specialist who makes a high-quality or distinctive product in small batches applying traditional and time-honoured techniques.

Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition. Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself.

Cultured (Fermented) Food
In the world of food, “cultured” essentially means fermented—the chemical process of breaking a complicated substance down into simpler parts, usually with the help of bacteria, yeasts, or fungi.

Ethical Production
Ethics in production is a subset of business ethics that is meant to ensure that the production function or activities are not damaging to consumers or society.

Factory Farming
A system of rearing livestock using highly intensive methods, by which poultry, pigs, or cattle are confined indoors (often in small closed areas) under strictly controlled conditions in order to produce a large amount of meat, eggs, or milk as cheaply as possible.

Food Sovereignty
Food Sovereignty is the right of people to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.

Free Range
Free range denotes a method of farming where the animals, for at least part of the day, can roam freely outdoors, rather than being confined in an enclosure for 24 hours each day.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as plants, animals or microorganisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.

Heirloom (or heritage) plants or animals are endangered or uncommon because people rarely eat them anymore. According to Sustainable Table, these varieties “are genetically distinct from the commercial varieties popularised by industrial agriculture.” The best way to save heritage foods is to eat them.

The activity of preparing an emulsion by reducing the size of the fat globules in milk or cream in order to distribute them equally throughout.

Lactose is a large sugar molecule that is made up of two smaller sugar molecules, glucose and galactose, naturally found in dairy.

A person interested in eating food that is locally produced, usually grown within 160 km of its point of purchase or consumption.

Organic Farming
Organic farmers and food producers grow and produce food without using synthetic chemicals such as pesticides and artificial fertilisers. They do not use genetically modified (GM) components or expose food to irradiation.

Pasture-raised animals receive a significant portion of their nutrition from organically managed pasture and stored dried forages. Unlike 100% grass-fed cows, pasture-raised cows may receive supplemental organic grains, both during the grazing season and into winter months.

A process that kills pathogens and destroys enzymes in food (usually in liquid form), which involves application of heat (between 62°C and 100°C) for a period of time (between 15 and 30 minutes). It was invented by French scientist Louis Pasteur during the nineteenth century and is most commonly used within the dairy industry.

Raw Food
Unprocessed food whose temperature has never reached above 47° C.

Seasonal Food
Food that is outdoor grown or produced during the natural growing/production period for the country or region where it is produced.

Sustainable Farming
Sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fibre, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and consider animal welfare.