PEC to Promote Local Farms

UVa’s Department of Urban and Environmental Planning released a fantastic study last year about where Charlottesville’s food comes from — it was one of the most interesting things that I read about the area all year. Blackberries So I was pleased to read Brian McNeill’s piece in Tuesday’s Progress about Piedmont Environmental Council’s new “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” campaign, which will promote the importance of buying local food. They’ll be sending a guide to buying local fruit, veggies, cheese, meat and wine to every home in C’ville and Albemarle. No doubt they’ll explain that it’s better for the economy, for your health, and for national security (believe it or not). For more about local agriculture, see my June blog entry about how when you’re interested in “organic” foods, you probably mean “local.”

Speaking of which, if you’re looking to sign up with a community supported agriculture (CSA) program, now’s the time. At least a few Charlottesville bloggers (myself included) signed up with Horse and Buggy Produce last year, and I intend to do so again this year. Anybody want to plug their CSA?

4 thoughts on “PEC to Promote Local Farms”

  1. We got a half-share at Best of What’s Around last year and are giving it another go this year. Last year’s crop was definitely heavy on the hearty greens in early season, and not enough tomatoes for our taste, but that’s how the season went (a very hot, dry summer).

    For 2 people, we had plenty of food but could almost always use it all without any going bad. That said, it helps if you enjoy cooking and can be creative with whatever you get. This was perfect for my better half, who finds making dishes with random and sometimes unusual ingredients to be interesting and enjoyable. If that’s not your idea of a good time, a CSA may not work for your household.

    The CSA definitely didn’t replace fresh veggie shopping for us. Said better half managed to use 98% of everything we got, but since every week’s bounty was a surprise, he often wanted other ingredients to make a dish. We did a mid-week pickup, so we could supplement at City Market on Saturday for a full week of very fresh local veggies.

    One thing I really liked about a CSA subscription was the “magic” aspect of just picking up a sack of fresh food. I hate shopping, and I can’t stand going to the grocery store if I’m too tired, but picking up a bag from somebody’s porch I can handle.

  2. I’m looking forward to getting my guide. I just hope it actually does show up in my mail.

    Glad to hear there’s an initiative to get folks to eat more local stuff. I’ve become rather fed up with the grown adults I know who refuse to eat most vegetables and fruit. I’m fairly certain it’s because they were raised on canned green beans.

  3. I’m, once again, signed up with Best of What’s Around. They’ve got a pretty good deal for folks who may be short on cash, but have a bit of time. You can get a half-share for the growing season for $375, but if you’re willing to work on the farm (I think it’s only two hours a week), the price goes down to $75.

    Even CSA members who pay the full price are obliged to spend two hours working on the farm over the course of the season. It’s a reasonable rule that seeks to reinforce the connection between grower and consumer.

    One of my favorite treats is the fresh soybeans that come mid-summer. I can picture myself on a warm July evening, sitting on the porch swing, snacking on edamame, while listening on the radio to Daisuke Matsuzaka completing a no-hitter for the Sox. I can hardly wait.

  4. Innifree Village also offers a CSA. We get a 1/4th share of that and it meets most of our needs. There also seems to be a good diversity of vegitables. I also enjoy learning to cook with what is in season.

    I hear competition can be tight though for getting an Innisfree share…

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