May this be the year that huge numbers of Americans step out of the bleary glare of the supermarket and onto the dirt road where their nearest organic small farmer is selling what is truly freshest and best from his farm stand or store. It’s August and you’d be hard put to find a better local eating month than this one, no matter where you live in the country. What you haven’t grown yourself, you are likely to find within a couple of miles from you, farm fresh and delicious. At right is a little photo of a sampling of what’s tasty on our family farm right now: zucchini, snow peas, lettuce, spinach, chives and tomatoes. Add to this cucumbers, artichokes, blackberries, strawberries, plums, nectarines, the first apples, gorgeous summer squash, beets, peppers…well, you’ve got a ton of fantastic, fresh, local foods to choose from, no matter where you live.
The Sense and Economics of Local Eating
If you’re buying your tomatoes from a supermarket, you’re not only eating old produce that was picked before it ripened on the vine, but you are also paying for the transport and oil it took to get that sub-par tomato to you. Local farmers pick when foods are ripe and sell them within a couple of days, and while you pay for the gas to get to a farm or farm market for anything you haven’t grown yourself, you know that’s what you’re paying for – it isn’t added onto your tomato’s cost. We are lucky enough to live 2 minutes down the road from the best organic farm I’ve ever encountered, run by an elder who must have 10 green thumbs. For $25, we come home from his farm stand with a couple of huge bags loaded with his picked-daily produce, to supplement what we grow here. The difference in cost compared to a couple of bags of groceries from, say, the local Whole Foods, is huge. And, the difference in taste and freshness is simply incomparable.
I don’t believe there is a more important activity going on from coast to coast in America than the Local Foods Movement. Getting into the habit of buying directly from farmers is not only economical, it’s really fun. Rather than weaving your way through urban traffic to get to that asphalt parking lot and those sliding glass doors, you are tooling around the countryside, getting fresh air and sunshine, forming meaningful bonds with the skilled people who are growing your food. The wind is in your hair, the soil is on the soles of your shoes and your understanding of community is deepened.
Not sure if there are any farmers or farm markets where you live? Check out LocalHarvest.org which has got to be one of the coolest sites on the web. They’ve not only mapped out local food across America, but they’ve got a really interesting multi-author blog, forum and other resources that will connect you with the food nearest you.
Got A Green Business?
At Solas Web Design, we revere green business models, and if you’ve got a local farm and need help promoting it on the web, please do contact us. We’ll probably be in the kitchen making dill pickles and pickled peppers much of this week, but we’ll drop everything to answer the phone and listen to your unique story. We understand farmers, because we are farmers and we are ready to do everything we can to increase your visibility. Like teachers, farmers have long been grossly underpaid in the United States, considering how vital their contributions are. We’d like to see that change, and we believe the Internet can facilitate this. Everybody eats, but I’d rather have people buying from your small farm than from Cal-organics or another giant agribusinesses. I bet you would, too! Let’s talk about this.
In the meantime, I’d like to wish all readers a great green summer, happy growing and happy times at your local farms!