Local, organic, GMO-free, pasture-fed, free range … if those are words you live by, this collective of earth-friendly and horse-powered farmers is for you.
It all begins with the soil: knowing it and what can be done to enhance it is the Oasis philosophy behind growing healthy plants. However, enhancement does not equate to using synthetic chemicals. Instead, Oasis farmers use certified organic growing techniques to build up the nutrient content of the soil. The soil, in turn, yields produce that is nutrient-dense, chemically free, GMO-free and contains no added hormones.
GMO is the latest culprit in the food chain. Standing for “genetically modified organism,” such ingredients are artifically manipulated to withstand the direct application of herbicides and/or to produce an insecticide (nongmoproject.org). As a result, GMOs are putting the health of humans and the environment at risk.
On the flip side, nutrient-dense foods provide concentrated amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids and phytonutrients. When you’re deprived of such things, your energy level plummets.
The philosophy extends to animals, as well. Cows and sheep are grass-fed. Cattle is Angus or heritage breeds. Swine forage in woodland and pasture areas. Chickens are given free range. The use of hormones and antibiotics is not permitted.
Pasture-fed animals are utilized to create dairy products. Milk comes from grass-fed cows. That milk is utilized in the production of cheese, yogurt and butter. Oasis is licensed by the state’s Department of Agriculture and the Federal Food & Drug Administration to bottle and sell raw milk in Pennsylvania.
All aspects of Oasis – from the growing methods to the exclusive use of horse power – is geared to reducing the carbon footprint.
Three years ago, members of the Oasis community were given an unprecedented opportunity to share the bounty of Lancaster County with the world. The occasion was a gathering of Le Club des Chefs des Chefs; members just happen to be chefs to the world’s kings, queens, presidents and other heads of state. The chefs were simply astounded by what was being served to them in the barn at Landis Valley Museum. According to a story that was published in LNP, one chef called it “real food” and pointed out, “We are not used to these things anymore.”
Restaurants and specialty stores in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic have discovered Oasis and serve and sell the cooperative’s products.
Oasis is now collaborating with Bobolink Dairy (Milford, New Jersey) to create butter that is gaining fans among chefs (including those at New York’s toniest restaurants), bakers and foodies. The salted variety is made with sea salt that is mined in Utah.
Where to Find Oasis
Oasis operates a store in Ronks, where you’ll find produce, meat, dairy, poultry and specialty items like Menno Tea. It’s open six days a week. At Central Market, Oasis operates a produce stand, as well as one dedicated to dairy products. The collective also offers a CSA.
Community of Oasis at Bird-in-Hand
60 N. Ronks Rd. and Central Market