Happy 2017! I hope you had a great New Years and are excited for the challenges of another year. We are just finishing up our farm planning for the year, and I am eager to get to it… I know the winter respite is a good mental break, but it can also feel like cabin fever is setting in.
What does local food mean to you? You might recall an earlier newsletter from last year when I talked about how the different catch-phrases that are used to market the “farm fresh” imagery to consumers. Well, these catchphrases are often used to project an untrue portrait. It projects a picture of the pastoral family farm but most foods are in actuality being grown on large-scale industrial farms. “Local” is one of those catch-phrases, because “local” does not automatically mean good for you; local simply means in proximity.
Why is local food important though? Does it matter if you get your Organic lettuce from Walmart (shipped in from California) or the neighborhood farmers market? I believe it does for two reasons.
- Industrial agriculture practices have made significant advancement into Organic farming. Once the large food companies realized that the demand for Organic was real, they have moved into the market as well. Factory farms (whether certified Organic or not) cannot compete with the healthiness and quality achieved by getting animals out of confinement houses and out on pasture. A great example of this is our Elle’s Eggs. It's more expensive for us to raise chickens free range outside but the egg quality is the best… we have had customers who hesitated at our price because they were purchasing cheaper eggs at Wholefoods. They tried our eggs and haven’t looked back because Organic must be paired with non-industrial farming practices to give you the full benefit.
- Supporting your neighbor. If your local farmer is producing clean, nutritious food then he needs your support. His ability to meet your needs will always be better than a faceless corporation’s attempt. We have customers that have requested specific meat cuts and if it’s possible then we have done that for them. We want to give you what you want…trust me! We have been asked before to explore shipping our meat, but I won’t. Because I don’t agree with that. Every community should have a commitment to their own local food network.
I encourage you to visit not only us, but any local farmer that you buy from so you can see how they do things. Local means nothing unless you know the farm and the farmer. If you pair the concepts of “local” and “Organic” I believe that you will get a superior product every single time.