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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Website Review www.localharvest.org

When you read about visiting local farms or buying produce from local farmers at farmer's markets do you think, "Well, that may happen out in that state but around here we haven't got anything like that. And if we do, how would I find out about it?" I have to admit I am totally guilty of that. I live in a southern state in a small town and thought there was a slim chance we had anything like that. When my friend Meghan told me about this site I decided it was worth a try. When I got there I read:
The best organic food is what's grown closest to you. Use our website to find farmers' 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.

At their site you enter in your zip code and it will pull up all of the venues around you. To my surprise when I put in my zip I found there wasn't just one but many opportunities for buying local produce and even farm fresh milk and eggs! And here at Backyard farming we are sooo all about buying locally grown organic produce - if you don't grow it yourself at least!

Once you pull up each listing you can click on it for more details on what they provide and where they are located. They will also fill you in on what their farming practices are including whether or not they use pesticides and practice sustainable farming. But by far my favorite feature is the listing of products and crops they offer. It lists them out and what season they are available for sale in. Gotta love that, eh? Above is a list from a family farm in the town I went to college in - I never had any idea that there were opportunities to not only buy healthy and tasty produce but to also support the local farmers so easily!

If you still can't find what your looking for locally, Local Harvest also has their very own store. And it's not just a few little things - it's lots of really great stuff from foods to tools to actual animals for sale. Their photos are beautiful and make it easy to surf around and dream - even if you're not ready to buy just yet.

Another really fun feature is the restaurant listings. You can search for those right alongside your farms searches or by themselves. Here's what their site had to say about it:

There is a rapidly growing movement within the culinary world towards both regional and seasonal cuisine. We recently incorporated restaurants into our directory to help this movement along.

Imagine you are going on vacation in Hawaii next January -say Kauai- (sounds good), and you want to go out to an excellent meal. LocalHarvest can provide you with the information you need to find the restaurant on Kauai that uses the freshest and most regional cuisine. Would you like to find a restaurant close to you that sells locally grown produce? Use our map to find one near you!

I'm all about supporting the local economy but most especially the local farmers. I recently have become a big advocate of this - realizing that what I eat determines what this country looks like. Local Harvest says it best:
Why Locally Grown?
People worldwide are rediscovering the benefits of buying local food. It is fresher than anything in the supermarket and that means it is tastier and more nutritious. It is also good for your local economy--buying directly from family farmers helps them stay in business.
Will I support the use of pesticides and farming that destroys the land or will I support my local farming community that practices sustainable, healthy farming? I choose the latter not just for the environment but also because I enjoy the vibrancy of local farms and the beauty they lend to my hometown! Even if I'm not going for the produce, my kids love to visit and see the animals and the farming way of life! And in the end, I can never leave empty handed. Not only because the products are so superior but also because the prices are too. When you buy locally, the farmers can bypass paying for the shipment to the stores and other fees and so you get premium products at premium price! And every dollar you spend there means those farms will be able to grow more products the next season.

So why not go punch in your zip code at their site? You might be surprised by the community of farmers you've got just down the road!


*All of the images on this post were taken from www.localharvest.org


Patria said...

This is brilliance! what a resource! Hooray!

Jennifer said...

Something else mentioned on the local harvest site is community supported agriculture. CSAs are like a co-op -- you register and pay a share to a local farm at the beginning of the growing season, and then receive a portion of the harvest throughout the season. Your money helps with the farmer's start-up expenses.

I'm curious to participate in a CSA. Has anyone out there done this?

megan said...

I too am curios about the CSA - there isn't one here but we are moving this summer to somewhere that has one and I'm thinking of joining. I think it sounds fun to get new stuff you might never have gotten before. If beets are in season and are grown by the farmers - you have beets for dinner. Though my kids might not see this as "fun"...