A Locavore’s Treasure Hunt

dsc_0273.jpg“So where do you shop?” is a question I get asked a lot when talking with others about our family’s real food lifestyle. I can’t help but feel giddy, thinking about all of these local farmers and producers, which, in many ways, I have come to think of as friends. But to the person standing across from me, I have to stop myself from diving right in, and present my concept of farm hopping with restrained excitement.
I have a farm for organic, free-range eggs and chicken, a small scale dairy farm that produces their milk with low temperature pasteurization and low pressure homogenization; there is a farm for pasture raised beef, a market for hormone-free pork and orchard fruits, an organically grown vegetable stand, and many local non-spray berry farms. Not to mention a bakery that offers gluten-free bread, a grain mill that sells many gluten-free flour options, a local source for honey, and a certified organic winery. And this summer, the most rewarding stop of all is our garden, where we are enjoying broccoli, kale, cauliflower, beans, and herbs, but that is a post for another day!
When I start to explain my shopping habits, the next question is often, “How do you find the time?” Well, it may not be as convenient as a one stop grocery store chain, but it isn’t as hard as you may think either! As I mentioned in my previous post, farm hopping is really about shopping the perimeter of the city. It takes as much, or as little time as I have, often stopping on the way to or from other activities; and my bill is no larger (including the extra gas it takes) than anyone doing a big shop at a conventional supermarket—I have compared!
The benefits of this are worth a little extra time in our vehicle. My family tags along, and gets to see and appreciate where our food comes from. We often get great prices from buying directly from the producers; and we are connecting with a community of passionate people who love to share what they do with those around them. One huge benefit of farm hopping is that I am not tempted by the fancy marketing or convenience of processed foods, because I rarely step foot into a grocery store to see it!
But I don’t expect anyone to make this change overnight. I certainly didn’t! Pick one food item that you are tired of buying off of a grocery store shelf, and source it out locally. If you think this sounds too complicated, or don’t currently have a way to get out of the city, start by visiting your local farmer’s market, where passionate growers and producers are eager to bring their goods to you. You will still find the freshest produce, good prices, and many happy faces; dare I say you may begin, as I do, to think of these people as friends!

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