Local Harvest is a great resource for cooks and anyone interested in sourcing locally grown foods in their communities. According to their website you can find farmer’s markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.
When you get to the home page of Local Harvest you can enter your zip code and get a listing of local farmer’s markets, farms, honey producers, produce stands, etc. There are almost two million farms in the USA, and about 80% of those are small farms. Many of these small farms are also family owned. These farmers are not huge, government subsidized, agri-business farms, just regular people trying to grow the best product they can. These farmers sell their products through farmer’s markets, food co-ops, farm stands and CSA, which stand for Community Supported Agriculture.
With CSA you buy “shares” or memberships from a local farmer, and you then receive a box of produce each week as it is harvested. CSAs can also include the option for shareholders to buy shares of eggs, homemade bread, meat, cheese, fruit, flowers or other farm products along with their veggies. According to Local Harvest, the advantages of CSA include;
Advantages for farmers:
Advantages for consumers:
- Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
- Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
- Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
- Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
- Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
Local Harvest also offers a store where you can buy products from farmers all over the USA, who also offer their wares to local customers. These include produce, meat, soap and body care, flowers, pet products, honey, seeds, herbs, preserves, wool and fibers, gift baskets and so much more.
Local Harvest is a website that should be bookmarked by everyone interested in locally sourced products. Buying locally saves on transportation costs, which is environmentally responsible. Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. When you buy local your food will be fresher, and you will know exactly where it comes from.