Applegate Farms, LLC, Bridgewater, N.J., announced THE NEW FOOD COLLECTIVE, a new premium brand that uses pasture-raised meats and small-batch production methods to create culinary-inspired products.

The launch features a line of fresh sausages that are said to be the first pork to be certified by the American Grassfed Association (AGA), Denver, Colo.

"The American Grassfed Association standard is a leap ahead of anything else out there," says Gina Asoudegan, vice president of mission and innovation for Applegate. "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 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, Boulder, Colo., 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 Gingho, president of Applegate. "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 line includes:

Sweet Italian Pork Sausage laced with fennel, sea salt and pepper.

Hot Italian Pork Sausage, a combination of fennel seeds, chili flakes and cayenne.

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

Breakfast Sausage, a classic, elevation with a balance of salt, sweet and heat.

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

THE NEW FOOD COLLECTIVE line is sold at select Whole Foods stores in the Chicago metropolitan area.