Fresh & Local
Web Searching for Locally Grown Food
Column #20, Published Feb 3rd, 2012
There is currently a food revolution going on, and locally grown food is making permanent inroads into the food we eat.
In previous columns, I have written about the different distribution channels for locally grown food. I have written quite a bit about farmers’ markets, which are the most obvious and visible channels. I have also written about locally grown food wholesalers and the functions they provide. And I have written about a locally grown food retailer.
But I have been taken to task over my failure to mention another distribution channel, and I will rectify that omission now. That channel is on-site farm retail.
My friend Rhonda Barnhart at Pleasant Hill Farm in Rixeyville correctly points out that many fresh and local market farmers produce year-round. This is particularly true of livestock producers. When the farmers’ markets close for the season, some of these farms continue to sell on-site from their farm.
That raises the question of how someone would go about finding farms that offer on-site sales, or maybe CSA shares? This would be a good time to mention that many fresh and local market farms maintain listings on two web sites: localharvest.org and buylocalvirginia.org. Both of these web sites have search capabilities. If you are looking for something that is locally grown, these web sites would be a good place to start.
Localharvest.org is a nationwide directory of locally grown farms and farmers’ markets. The site contains over 20,000 listings, and it claims to be, “the number one informational resource for the Buy Local movement and the top place on the Internet where people find information on direct marketing family farms.”
From the localharvest.org home page, you can narrow your search by selecting a radio button for what you are looking for, enter a farm name or product, and a state or zip code. Additionally, there is an “all in area” search option. Click on the green “all in area” link above the search boxes, and it will allow you to search within a given distance. For example, search for “all members” within 10 miles of zip code 22701, and you will see links to 12 entries including Croftburn Market and Pleasant Hill Farm.
Clicking on the link will take you to a summary of useful member information including a link to their website.
The buylocalvirginia.org web site is supported the Piedmont Environmental Council and covers just Virginia. To search on the buylocalvirginia.org web site, select one of the 18 categories, and a county. For example, if you select “meat” and “Culpeper” you will get 12 links. Again, clicking on the link will take you to a useful summary of information. Are you looking for a buffalo steak? Click on the “Cibola Farms” link and the information you need is all right there.
The summary information says that Cibola Farms has on-site sales, and the link to their web site will provide all the details.
So, if you are looking for something that is locally grown, or farms with on-site sales, these web sites would be a very good place to start.
Bryant Osborn and his wife Terry own Corvallis Farms in Culpeper County. His column on fresh and locally grown food runs every Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org