FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Where can I buy your fruit spreads?

Crofter’s is available in many major retailers across the USA and Canada. To find a retailer near you please visit our store locator.

 

Where is the expiry date on the jar?

The expiry date is printed in black ink on the edge of the cap as EXP followed by the month and year of expiry (for example EXP 06 2014).  The expiry date only applies to unopened jars, and is to be used as a guide for best quality.  As long as the jar remains sealed, the product inside the jar will not go bad or become unsafe if it goes past the expiry date, but there will be a gradual loss of quality.  Once a jar is opened we recommend that the product be consumed within 20 days (see next question for more information).

The other number on the edge of the cap is the product lot code.  There may also be a code printed on the bottom of the glass jar, but this is for the code of the glass jar itself, not for the product inside of it.


Why does the label say “REFRIGERATE AFTER OPENING AND USE WITHIN 20 DAYS”?

Because our fruit spreads are certified organic, free of preservatives and contain 1/3 less sugar than a traditional preserve, they need to be handled with more care in order to avoid early spoilage.  Treat them more like a juice, eggs, or produce.  Our fruit spreads must be refrigerated after opening to maintain quality and avoid spoilage.  Some tips to help keep our spreads fresh for as long as possible include: always using a clean utensil, putting the cap back on the jar as soon as possible after use and keeping the jar in the coolest part of the fridge (not in the door).  With a little extra care our fruit spreads last longer than 20 days, but since they are so tasty, we’re hoping that the jar will be empty before that.

The cap on my jar didn’t make a ‘pop’ sound when I opened it. The product inside looks okay. Is it still okay to consume this product?
No. The cap should always make a definite ‘pop’ the first time the jar is opened. If there is no ‘pop’, then the cap seal has failed and the product can spoil. Crofters fruit spreads are filled into jars and are capped while they are very hot (pasteurization).  As the product inside the jar cools, it shrinks creating a vacuum affect which causes the center of the metal cap to be sucked down.  If there is no vacuum, it means that unsterile air has entered the jar.  Air can carry microorganisms which can cause food to spoil, so a jar with no vacuum (or no “pop”) will spoil, and should not be consumed.

 

Why is there some liquid on top of the jam? Has it spoiled?

Traditional Jams or Preserves are made with more sugar, and different pectins than Crofters products.  Crofter’s fruit spreads are made with specialized natural apple pectins and contain 1/3 less sugar than traditional jams and preserves. Less sugar means that there is more fruit in the recipe, and more fruit carries more water.  Even with specialized natural pectins, it is more difficult to keep this water tied up in lower-sugar fruit spreads than in a high sugar jams.   Crofter’s fruit spreads can naturally have some water separation - known as syneresis.  Some flavors are more prone to syneresis than others, but this does not mean that the fruit spread is spoiled.  Gently remove the liquid if you wish, or mix it back into the spread and continue to enjoy!

 

Are your products vegetarian/vegan?

All Crofters fruit spreads meet all categories of vegetarian including vegan.  We use no animal ingredients of any kind, and our organic cane sugar is produced without the use of bone-char.

 

Do your spreads contain gluten?

No. All of our spreads are gluten free.  Fruit is naturally gluten free as are all the ingredients in our fruit spreads.  Our plant is also gluten free, since we only make fruit products.

 

What is the pectin made from?

All of the pectins which we use are made from apples.  They are all Natural apple pectins which means that they have not been chemically modified.  These pectins are extracted from the apple pulp left over from making apple juice, so in a way they are a product of recycling !!

I am allergic to corn. Do your spreads contain any corn or corn products?

No, Crofter’s fruit spreads do not contain any corn and are safe for people with corn allergies. Although the citric acid and ascorbic acid are mainly derived from corn, they comply with organic and Non-GMO standards, and the purified , pharmaceutical-grade acids (citric USP35, Ascorbic USP34) no longer contain any traces of corn.

 

Does the citric acid or ascorbic acid come from corn?

Citric and ascorbic acids are both naturally occurring acids which are found in most fruits.  Ascorbic acid is also called vitamin C.  Since the amounts of naturally occurring citric and ascorbic acids in fruits vary, Crofters adds small amounts of both acids to our products to standardize acid levels.  Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) also protects fruit from oxidation, and helps to slow down natural browning which takes place as the fruit spreads age.  The ascorbic and citric acids which Crofters uses must comply with organic and Non-GMO standards, and while the raw material they are made from is often corn, the purified , food-grade acids do not contain any traces of the corn that they were derived from.

 

Is the citric acid or ascorbic acid from GMO Monsanto corn?

No.  Crofter’s fruit spreads are all certified to Canada Organic Regime (COR) and USDA Organic Regulations which do not allow for GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) ingredients.  Crofters’ suppliers must provide documented guarantees that their ingredients are GMO-free.  Crofter’s products are also Non-GMO Project Verified, a third party organization that verifies that the ingredients in Crofter’s fruit spreads do not contain GMO’s.

 

I’m allergic to peanuts and other nuts, are your spreads nut free?

Although our facility is not certified as ‘nut free’, we only produce fruit spreads in our plant.  We do not manufacture any products which contain nuts or ingredients derived from nuts.  There is, however, a remote possibility that some ingredients may come into contact with nuts somewhere along the supply chain.  We can confirm that from the time that the ingredients reach our facility to when the jar is sealed, our fruit spreads have not been in contact with nuts or nut products.

 

Do your products contain any allergens like wheat, soy, dairy or sulfites?

With one exception, Crofters fruit spreads do not contain any common allergens.  While it is not always the case, spreads which contain organic red grape concentrate can contain minute traces of a naturally occurring sulfite.  Under certain conditions, a wild yeast may develop during maceration of organic red grapes, and this yeast has the curious ability to form sulfites which end up in the organic red grape concentrate.  Our suppliers are aware of this, and Crofters specifies that any naturally occurring sulfite levels must stay below the government standard o f 10 ppm.

  

Does Crofter’s test for Bisphenol A (BPA)?

There has been concern about Bisphenol A (BPA) residues in foods due to the presence of BPA in food packaging.  In January 2010, both The New York Times and the Washington Post reported that the FDA has expressed concern about the health risks of BPA [link to study].  In a study of 2000 people, BPA was detected in the urine of 90% of the participants. BPA could be present in the seal material on the underside of metal caps which forms the air-tight seal between the cap and the glass jar.  Since Crofter's uses metal caps, we opted to have our fruit spreads tested in 2009 by an independent laboratory.  Test results showed no detectable BPA residues in products, including those which were turned upside down to maximize contact with the cap. Crofter's tested fresh, 6 months old, and 15 months old product to simulate maximum potential exposure.  In all cases BPA residues were reported as less than 1 part per billion (1 part per billion is the lowest level which the laboratory can measure with current methods). Levels of BPA in foods have been reported to range from over 100 ppb (parts per billion) in canned beans and soups, to trace to 32 ppb in canned corn, chili, and tomato sauce (Sustainable Food News: Nov 3, 2009).
 

Where does your fruit come from?

Crofter’s sources the highest quality organic fruit from the best fruit growing regions around the world .  Canadian and US fruit comes from Quebec, British Columbia, Oregon and California.  Other sources are located in Chile, Argentina, Turkey, and Asia.

 

What is a Maqui Berry?

Native to fertile Patagonia, maqui berries are deep purple berries which generally grow wild, and that the Mapuche Indians have regarded as powerful healers for centuries.  Recent studies indicate that maqui berries may be the reigning superfruit king, with higher antioxidant levels than any other fruit.

 

What is a Yumberry?

The yumberry is a vibrant red fruit native to East Asia, and Chinese berry eaters have been enjoying them for 2,000 years.  Actually, they’ve been enjoying yang-mei berries. The name “yumberry” is a recent Western creation.  Whether you call them yang-mei or yumberry or just yummy, these sweet, tart berries are believed to boost the immune system, reduce blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, and even promote a healthy complexion.  We haven’t done the tests to confirm those claims, but we’ve confirmed yumberries’ high antioxidant levels and, of course, our yumberry products have consistently scored exceptionally high on all taste tests.

 

What is Passionfruit?

Although passionfruit is now grown in many subtropical areas around the world, it’s native to Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina in South America.  With their deep purple skin and yellow fruit flesh, these oval fruits have an intoxicating floral musk.  An Aztec staple, passionfruit was used to calm nerves, control asthma and kill bacteria. This fragrant fruit is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fiber and antioxidants.

 

How are antioxidants measured?

Antioxidants are natural chemical compounds which, as the name suggests, prevent oxidation.  Oxidation of cells and tissues in our bodies by “free radicals” is generally regarded to be undesirable, and antioxidants are believed to be able to neutralize these free radicals.  Many of the antioxidant compounds present in fruits belong to the Polyphenol group.   Scientists have yet to formally agree on the best way to measure antioxidants.  One common test involves measuring the potency of antioxidants in terms of the “oxygen radical absorbance capacity,” or ORAC value.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports ORAC values per 100 grams of food and recommends about 5,000 ORAC units per day.  Most people average around 1,000. According to the USDA, blueberries have an ORAC rating of 6,552 per 100 grams while strawberries rate 3,577 per 100 grams. One jar of Crofter’s Organic Superfruit Spread contains 16,000 ORAC units; the equivalent of a 1L bottle of red wine. For more information on antioxidant testing, visit our laboratory page [link to page].

 

What is an anthocyanin?

Anthocyanins are naturally occurring plant chemicals which are part of the class of Polyphenols (antioxidants) known as Flavonoids.  Anthocyanins are found in many berries and fruits including blueberries, red grapes and pomegranates.  If a fruit or berry is purple, blue or red, chances are it contains anthocyanins.  Researchers are currently working to verify the potential health benefits which have been reported for these compounds.

 

What is the link between antioxidants and organics?

Emerging research indicates that organic foods contain higher levels of antioxidants than those grown with pesticides.  A recent science review conducted by The Organic Center indicated that organic foods have approximately one-third higher antioxidant content than their conventionally grown counterparts.[insert link]

 

What are GMO’s?

GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are organisms (microorganisms, plants, or animals),  that have undergone man-made genetic changes through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE).  This relatively new science can merge genes from different species, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral DNA that cannot occur in nature or with traditional breeding techniques.  Despite assurances from industry, gene splicing is not an exact science, and there is much which is not known about the effects of rearranging DNA, or inserting genes from one kind of organism into another.

Virtually all commercial GMOs are bred to withstand direct application of herbicides or to produce an insecticide in their leaves.  Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.  Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with potential health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

Learn more about our Non-GMO commitment or visit nongmoproject.org for more info.

 

What is the Non-GMO Project?

The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices.

The Non-GMO Project currently offers North America’s ONLY third party verification for products produced according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance. The Non-GMO Project requires that every single batch of high risk ingredients used in a verified product (e.g. those derived from corn, soy, etc.) is tested before use, and is below an action threshold of 0.9%.

Absence of all GMO contamination is the goal for all Non-GMO Project Verified Products, and their standard uses a combination of traceability, segregation and testing requirements toward that end. Participants are verified through a rigorous examination of quality control documentation, including test results.  Companies using high risk ingredients require an on-site audit prior to verification and this evaluation is repeated on an annual basis.

Learn more about the Non-GMO Project at www.nongmoproject.org

 

Why are you Non-GMO Project certified if you are already Certified Organic?

Organic regulations clearly prohibit the use of Genetically Modified Organisms in organic agriculture and organic processing, however this restriction has not been well communicated to consumers.  Most people believe that organic foods should be free of pesticides, but not many people realize that non-GMO is also part of all organic regulations.  In addition, government agencies tend to focus more on testing organic commodities for pesticides and other prohibited materials than on verification and testing for GMOs.  In order to help get the non-GMO message to consumers, Crofters elected to participate in another audit process administered by the Non-GMO Project, and to use the non-GMO logo on Crofters labels.

 

What’s the bear all about?

Well, a few things.

First, we're Canadian. Bears are pretty much our animal spirit.
Second, bears love berries almost as much as we do.
Third, bears pick the best berries, not unlike Crofter's Organic.
Fourth, we both store fruit for the winter. We use jars; bears use an extra, insulating layer.
And last, but not least, we find him to be quite charming.



What is a Crofter?

Crofter, noun. One who rents and tends a small farm.

How are we Crofters?   Rather than supporting large monocultures managed by corporations, we prefer looking after farmers who cultivate and tend their small farms.

Producing organic jams is how we help to take care of the earth. Our organic fruits come from farms around the world.  We have long-term relationships with farmers and suppliers in nearly a dozen different countries.  Our suppliers know we trust them to deliver their best, and that in turn we will honour our commitments and share in the inherent risks of each agricultural season. We estimate that the many tons of berries, cherries, apples, pomegranates, apricots, grapes, oranges and tropical fruits that go into our products each year supports 9,000 acres of land managed with organic practices.

In addition to tending to the wellness of the planet, we hope to contribute to your well-being. One could say that we have shaken hands with the preserve eaters of the world to always deliver our best lip-smacking, fruit-stuffed, affordable jams produced sustainably and with respect for the land and the lives along the way.

 

What is the difference between the Just Fruit Spreads and the Premium Spreads?

The primary difference between Crofter’s Just Fruit Spreads and Crofter’s Premium Spreads is the type of sweetener used.  The Just Fruit Spreads are sweetened with white grape juice concentrate and are a great option for consumers looking to avoid added cane sugar.  Crofter’s Premium Spreads are  made with Fair Trade Cane Sugar.  Other than the sweetener, Crofter’s Just Fruit and Premium Spreads contain the same high quality, great tasting fruit ingredients.  It is also important to know that all Crofter’s fruit spreads deliver 30 calories per serving, 1/3 less than a Jam or Preserve. 

 

Is the Glycemic Index of your Just Fruit and Premium spreads the same?

In order to answer this question, Crofters commissioned a well known independent laboratory to perform Glycemic  Index (GI) testing. GI testing is not a typical laboratory measurement where a sample of fruit spread is tested with a “GI tester”.  GI determination involves having a group of people consume a standard amount of fruit spread, and then measuring the increase in their blood sugar level over time.  The test results told us that, in practical terms, there is really not a significant difference in Glycemic Index between the two types of products.  In fact our conclusion was that for fruit spreads, the Glycemic Index is less important than something called Glycemic Load – the total amount of sugars you consume.  Since fruit spreads are generally only consumed in small amounts (1 serving is defined as 1 tablespoon), the amount of fruit spread consumed (and consequently the amount of sugar) will have a bigger physiological impact than how quickly the sugars enter the blood stream.  This brings us back to the 30 calories per serving which all of our fruit spreads have in common.  We believe that most people can relate to the amount of calories consumed in a much better way than to Glycemic Index numbers.  Bottom line?  Crofters products contain 1/3 less sugars and 1/3 less calories than jams and preserves, therefore a 35% lower glycemic load.

 
 
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