Yesterday, a friend made me aware of a new service at one of the regional supermarkets found in our area, a program that likens itself to a CSA, and allows its customers to pre-purchase a subscription for a weekly produce box the customer can pick up at a participating store location. The program includes the term “locally” to describe where the produce is sourced, and indicates each box will include the farmer’s information and location, when delivered. Gosh! Seems like “local” has gone mainstream, doesn’t it?
I wanted to learn more about the local NC farmers involved with the program. Before subscribing and making payment for my current CSA, I was able to obtain information about the farm. It seemed reasonable to me that farm information should be available, so a consumer would know what local farm is supplying their food. While searching the grocery store’s website, I found this statement: “(store name withheld) …working with many farmers across our state to develop CSA opportunities for our customers. At times we will buy from bordering states to meet demand and ensure the highest quality.” Bordering states? And where is “our state”? This regional chain has stores in three states. Other information I found indicated the “local” farms could be in Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and/or South Carolina. It seemed as if the store’s definition of “local” was quite a bit broader than what I consider local to me.
“Local” is subjective, relative to one’s location, and it’s a personal decision, how broadly one defines “local”. I have contacted the store for more information about the North Carolina farmers from whom they plan to source produce. That information is pending and the store indicated they do plan to add more information to their website about the farms and locations. I’m hopeful that additional information will become available, so that the consumer can make a more informed choice, especially if that consumer has committed to buying NC food sources.
The moral of this story is don’t assume everyone defines “local” as you define “local”. Always ask where “local” is. Make your grocer aware of your desire to support the NC food economy, and ask them to seek out NC products to stock those shelves and produce bins. In the meantime, we’ve got all these great farmers’ markets that make finding local NC foods so easy and fun.
Here’s a quick run down of the “fun” happening at a couple of our Triangle area farmers’ markets this weekend:
In Wake Forest, at the Wake Forest Farmers’ Market the band “Dry Bread Road” will serenade market shoppers, and Chef Cindy Karas will prepare free-range chicken and market fresh produce to sample. Staff from the NC 10% Campaign will be around too, to answer your questions about buying NC food sources and its impact on our local economy.
There’s art to accompany your produce at the Midtown Farmers’ Market on the Commons at North Hills, and the market stays open a bit longer, until 1:00 pm, to celebrate the Plein Air Festival. Midtown Farmers’ Markets patrons might want to plan a lingering visit at this market on Saturday, to enjoy all the paintings, as well as the market vendors’ products.
Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market welcomes a new farmer to the market this week. Well, not really a “new” farmer, since Cohen Farm in Silk Hope has been in the farming business since 1971. Cohen Farm will offer Animal Welfare Approved free-range eggs, pastured beef and pork, and even seasonal produce. Gosh, guess we don’t really need to stop in the grocery store this week after all. We can find all that we need at this farmers’ market.
By the way, have you voted for your favorite local farmers’ market? Time’s a wasting – be sure to get your vote in now!
That’s all for this week, farmers’ market fans. Wherever you may be, make sure your love your locality – Enjoy!