How to Find Local Food
Finding local food sources is getting easier daily.
Whether you’ve never even grown a houseplant or your family sucks down all the fresh cukes from your garden so fast that you need an extra basket with which to make pickles, you can probably find what you need from a local source.
Granted, you need to be willing to purchase what is in season. This shouldn’t feel like a sacrifice! Seasonal food tastes better and feels festive, especially if it is only available for a short window of time. Relishing asparagus in the early spring and pumpkin pie in the fall makes sense for the sphere we live on as well as the soul.
The warm months offer an obvious cornucopia of well-known and unusual foods. Berries, potatoes, greens, squash, peaches, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, melons, apples, eggplants, onions, kiwifruit, peppers, pawpaws, Asian pears, and persimmons are just a segment of what we might find for sale.
Our local farmers can even reap huge harvests during the colder months. Spinach, Celery, Broccoli, Carrots, Cabbage, Beets, Cauliflower, Parsnips, Brussels Sprouts, Scallions, Kale, Lettuce, Mache…
Or are you looking for baked goods, dairy, or other animal products?
The problem is that most of us shop at conventional grocery stores where produce is likely to have traveled from across the globe before it landed on our plates. Even when the sign in the grocery says local, it may not be.
Commercial food processing plants insist a tomato grown in New Zealand and shipped to your neighborhood Bi-Lo is just as fresh as garden grown. Bi-Lo’s veggies have superior freshness guaranteed by their spectral produce manager, Walter. Any tomato lovers out there want to back up “Walter’s” claim?
Likewise, are all eggs labeled “free range” equal?
The problem for many people is how to find the exciting, fresh, healthy, and truly local produce they deserve. But once you’ve perused all the farm directories and other resources available for our area, you may find your biggest problem is narrowing down the selection!
First, the farm & market directories, where you can find food direct from your neighborly farmer. Look in the ASAP guide to find a U-Pick farm where you harvest yourself and pay a discounted price. Sit in front of your computer in the evening and use Locally Grown to order produce from a variety of farmers online and then pick it up at a designated drop-off site. No matter what your schedule and budget is, there is a source that will work for you.
Local Farm Product Directories:
- ASAP — Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
- Local Harvest
- Locally Grown
- CFSA — Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
- Local Table
Even if you don’t cook, or you spent all day in the garden and can’t lift your green thumb to the skillet, you can still eat local. Relax and let someone else prepare your regional meal.
If anyone knows of additional Appalachia area directories please let me know!