05 June 2008

locavores, log in!

When I can't get to my local farmer's market on Saturdays, I get a little cranky. It means I won't have access to local produce until the following week, so I have to resort to the fruits and veggies at the supermarket which are shipped in from California, Canada, Mexico, or even New Zealand (though I try to find the stuff that's grown closest to home, if possible).

I wanted to join a local CSA (community supported agriculture), but the ones in my area are all booked up for the year.

But wait, what's this? An article from the New York Times telling me I can just get on the ol' interweb to get my local produce fix? I can't help but picture Farmer Bob sitting on his tractor, MacBook in lap, waiting to fulfill orders from urbanites such as myself. But I guess it makes sense, in an age where lots of people get their groceries delivered via Fresh Direct and other such services.

These local-food-via-internet distributors are sproutin' up all over the country. There's Spud on the West Coast. And Natural Direct in Illinois. In Texas, there's Greenling. And right here in NYC, there's Urban Organic. There's also My Personal Farmers, which serves parts of NY state (like Westchester) and CT.

What they provide you with is a weekly delivery of fresh farm products, the season determines what goes in it, you determine the amount delivered, based on the size of your household. Some of the services also provide meat, dairy, and other products like honey. They also offer up recipes tailored to what's in your basket for a given week.

The one thing I'd miss is actually picking out the goods myself, and being able to talk to the farmers directly like I do at the farmer's market. But at least I'd know I'm supporting local agriculture, which means fresher, more nutritious produce; less carbon burnt; keeping family farms in business (as opposed to supporting agribusiness); and sustaining the local economy.

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