When we see brand names with the words “farm”, “pasture”, “butcher”, or even “kitchen” we’re transported to a place. We imagine that food being prepared for us in the field or home. When brands include place names, this effect is magnified. In choosing the name Walden, we were eager to reflect Thoreau’s values of natural simplicity in our own company mission. On the other hand, Walden is also an icon of our home and a landmark of where we produce our meat—New England.

Yet, a recent investigation revealed that a British supermarket chain was branding foreign products with seemingly local farm names. Produce such as spinach from as far as Senegal or Honduras was sold with the label “Redmere Farms”. When it came to meat, cuts from both the UK and across Europe were labeled with English names such as Woodside Farms or Boswell Farms. Although the origin of the products could be found in small print, the implications of these names served to mislead customers searching for local products.

Whether your last name or a brand name, there is a lot of power in the terms we use to describe people and places. Changing your name from Romano to Jones can seemingly change your lineage from Italy to Ohio. Similarly, a steak from Negenharrie or Walden can imply a 4,000 mile difference between New England and Germany! This is especially critical for food, given the different value ascribed to various places of origin. For more on this story, see HERE and HERE

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