Local farms are a good source for all kinds of food
We are living in challenging times. We are getting pretty good at practicing social distancing and used to wearing protective masks when in public. I do look forward to a time when things slowly return to normal. The one store we have had to visit while under self-quarantine is the supermarket, and that is when it really hits home the seriousness of this regional, national and global pandemic.
Over the past several weeks my forays to the market have borne witness to a decline in the amount and variety of available foods. The difficulty finding toilet paper continues, but more gradually we have seen the variety of fresh vegetables becoming more sporadic. Some days I can find bananas and others time there are none. Cucumbers and broccoli are in short supply too. On my last trip to the market there were only a few fresh meats available.
It was about 10 years ago that I first heard the term “locavore” to mean someone who aspires to have a diet mostly of locally grown or produced food. The term was first coined in California with the burgeoning focus on fresh local foods. Over the years I have tried to maintain this ideal as much as possible, but with the recent sporadic availability of food staples at our local supermarkets, I have rededicated myself to local foods.
For years during the summer months I have been able to look at my dinner plate and identify the vegetables that I have grown or purchased from a local farm or farmers market. More recently this includes eggs, milk and meats, but still mostly on a seasonal basis.
But in the past few weeks my wife and I are relying more than ever on local farms with stands and stores open to the public year-round. For several years we have been purchasing apples and honey from a nearby orchard that is open all year. We have also started visiting an all-season farm store where we get fresh milk (in glass returnable bottles), local raised meats, cheeses and a variety of baked goods. As the growing season progresses these stores and others, farmer’s markets and farm stands (along with my small vegetable garden) will be my source for fresh food.
Throughout New England, and certainly here in The Last Green Valley, we have seen an increase in the availability of farms, orchards, vineyards and breweries selling their locally grown and produced foods and beverages directly to customers. It means making a few more stops for all you may need, but for me it is worth it knowing the food is fresh and local.
To encourage eating good local food and to draw attention to the farms in the region, The Last Green Valley (TLGV) has developed an extensive list of farms with retail stands and stores, as well as our regions farmers markets, and the farms that offer CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares where you pre-purchase food for weekly pickup. This new list is now available for download and printing on the TLGV website for download. Here is a link to the TLGV website list:
We will update the list on a regular basis and as more local farms and producers are identified to us. Please double check with each farm before you visit, as hours of operation and methods of purchase continue to evolve to meet social distancing and other requirements. Also, if you know a farm, CSA or market that should be listed, please let TLGV know by emailing LyAnn@tlgv.org.
Our local farms are important not only as valuable producers of food and beverage, but also because they help keep The Last Green Valley green by maintaining undeveloped and open farmland. More than 80 percent of the last green valley is in forests, fields and farms – a key to the quality of life we enjoy living in this region.
When we finally emerge from this pandemic I hope we will find ourselves more resourceful and appreciative for our local and regional food sources. Let us aspire to turn the “new normal” into “new opportunities” for our region’s farmers, orchardists, vintners and brewers.
We live in a beautiful place called The Last Green Valley. These difficult times remind us of our blessings and lead us together to enjoy, care for and pass on this special place we call home.
Bill Reid is the Chief Ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and has lived in the region for 35 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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