Benefits to Eating Local
There are so many important benefits to eating local and these farmers who I am going to introduce you to are 15 important reasons.
I had the most inspirational Thursday meeting 15+ incredible local farmers at the 6th annual CSA Fair sponsored by the non-profit Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project that works toward promoting local farmers in Western North Carolina and surrounding communities that provide us a nutritious food supply and to preserve our local farming heritage and green space.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, this is a opportunity for the community to have a share of the produce of a farm throughout the year. It is a partnership because the CSA is a commitment between a person or family and a local farm and often is paid ahead of time so the farmer can purchase needed supplies for the growing season. The consumer reaps the benefit of the best tasting and healthiest food around!
The purpose of the ASAP CSA fair was to provide the opportunity for the public to meet the farmers and learn about their farms, their growing methods, their locations and what products that they have to offer!
This gives everyone the opportunity to find the best fit and after talking with each of these farmers, I had the opportunity to see each of their special unique opportunities and was so excited to learn about their creative programs for the community. I want to introduce them to you and encourage everyone to give one of them the opportunity to partner with you or partner with a several of them!
Here are 15 Benefits to Eating Local Food
- Supports our local economies because more of the money your spend stays where you live.
- Food is fresher because it is not picked a head of time and it is allowed to ripen on its own.
- Promotes protecting heirloom varieties of plants and heritage animals because family farms may tend to gravitate towards these.
- Heirloom plants and heritage animals provide genetic diversity in our diets and they also may be more delicious and nutritious.
- Eating local helps support a variety of small businesses which additionally supports the local economy.
- Buying food from your neighbors strengthens community relationships.
- Getting food from local farmers helps reduce our reliance on processed foods and promotes the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Many small local farms grown their food organically (even if they are not certified organic) without GMO (genetically modified) seeds.
- When we purchase food locally, we often know where our food has come to us. We have an opportunity to build a relationship with that farmer and farm.
- Small farmers are more likely to give their own animals better care because they have a relationship with them on a smaller scale.
- Because the food does not travel thousands of miles to get to us, buying local helps protect the environment because gallons of gasoline or diesel is not burned up.
- Additionally, small family farms where people are living where they grow will be less likely to allow chemicals to seep into the ground or water supply.
- Shopping local builds, a food system that is more sustainable because it supports farmers and their land and the local community.
- Small local farms may grow food that is new to us. For instance, in my weekly CSA, I got to try purple daikon radishes, Tuscan cauliflower which was green and amaranth greens! It also provides us more opportunity to learn about local food heritage, regional foods grown where we live.
- Being more connected with who grows our food can provide opportunities to visit farms and even volunteer on them so we may have a hands-on experience. We can learn more about traditional growing practices where we live.
Learn About 15 Farms Bringing Us Beneficial Local Food
I want to introduce you to all 15 of these amazing farmers and tell you a little about their CSA’s and let you know that there is still time to get your share while they last! These 15 farms bring you even more benefits to eating local food!
Ivy Creek Family Farm www.ivycreekfamilyfarm.com This was my first stop, and I had the opportunity to meet Paul Littman who along with his wife Anna are inspired to build community through their farm and created new event space that will build just that.
Another unique part of their farm is that they use compost from Sunburst Trout farm to build their soil. At their new farm stand, they have refrigeration so you never known what kind of treat you might find at the farm! They are including sweet potatoes, mushrooms, popcorn, spinach and potatoes in many of their CSA boxes so members can have a large variety of food each week.
In addition to their 20 week and 8-week share, they also have a Thanksgiving box, a flower share and market shares that you can use directly at the tailgate market.
Second Spring Market Garden www.secondsprinfarm.com Next, I had had the chance to meet Cosara Logan and Matt Coffay learn about their farm which is on less than one acre and is minimally tilled using hand tools and planned with great care so that the maximum amount of food can be grown on the small amount of land.
It is also a year round CSA with the crops in the cool weather being grown in a hoop house heated with passive solar heat. Their salad mix is known at many of the local restaurants. The shares include full and half spring-fall shares, a winter share or a four season full share.
Flourish www.flourishflowerfarm.com If you want lovely bouquets on your table each week, how about a fresh flower CSA with over 34 varieties of Nicolette’s flowers throughout the season! Each week you can look forward to a new look and sweet scent around the house.
Franny’s Farm www.frannysfarm.com Franny and Jeff have two very unique CSAs which include Thanksgiving CSAs which include their heritage turkeys, sweet potatoes, greens and other fixings for the celebration including specially paired wines for the meal from Addison Vineyards. They also have special CSA meal baskets for their chickens which include fresh local vegetables which are also paired with wine. They also have fresh eggs and a brand-new local farm store. They also have event space, eco-cabins and camping on the farm!
Thatchmore Farm thatchmorefarm.wordpress.com Tom,Karen and Liz’s farm is known for their early season tomatoes and their commitment to heping people grow their own food through the Organic Growers School. I
learned some new interesting products that they make on the farm which include some great hand salve made with balsam poplar and hand-crafted vinegars. In addition to their full and half CSA shares, Tom shared with me that they also will be having a discounted CSA card that can be purchased ahead of time to have the flexibility to buy what you want, when you want it.
Long Valley Eco-Biotic Farm http://www.localharvest.org/long-valley-eco-biotic-farm-M48353/csa I had the pleasure of meeting Zeke who is farming with his wife Courtney on a farm that has been in his family for 35 years.
They have 3 acres of annual crops and one acre of perennials which include strawberries, blueberries, apples and rasperries. The farm uses eco-biotic methods which include crop rotation and cover crops. They are offering a full share and half share CSA and you can also find them at several tailgate markets including the Mars Hill Market.
Root Bottom Farm rootbottomfarm.com
In addition to their full share fresh produce CSA, Sarah and Morgan take pride in including value added items to weekly boxes which may include a low sugar jam and garlic butter.
They also have a flower CSA which includes over 200 varieties of flowers. They have some delicious micro-greens that you will have to try for your salads! If you check out their website, you can have a chance to reserve a seat for some upcoming farm to table dinners.
Patchwork Farm patchworkurbanfarms.comThis is an urban farm in Asheville envised by Sunil Patel which is currently growing food on 11 garden spots throughout town. The food is made available through farm stands throughout the city in addition to home delivery in collaboration with Uramaa Freedom Market.
In additions to vegetables delivered there also will be eggs, herbs, bread, cheese and olive oil available to come right to your home. They are offering a standard CSA veggie share, a variety of farm stand credit accounts and also an egg CSA share. They are also offering an early bird discount in addition to other discounts throughout the year.
Blue Meadow Farm
Fenner and Chrisan offer half and full shares in addition to an extended season share. They have 7 pick up locations including the Henderson County YMCA and offer an informative newsletter with weekly recipes and ideas to keep the food freshly picked all week! You can also pick up their produce at the Hendersonville Coop.
Whisper Holler Farms www.whisperhollerfarms.com This farm will have their fresh grown veggies at available at a produce stand Asheville Food Park in addition to the WNC Farmers’ Market and the Oakley Market.
They will be offering a “Box of Love” CSA list which consists of market shares of food products you can choose from online and then pick up or even have it delivered! You can join them and the rest of the food park at the Springfest Equinox on March 19 & 20.
Highgate Farm [email protected] names
I always enjoy learning something new at when I met the farmers, John and Melissa at Highgate Farm, I discovered about a certification for farms called “Certified Naturally Grown” or CNG. That means that the food is grown with no GMOs, no synthetic materials, that it is from a local farmer not a corporate conglomerate and that it is rooted in the community.
High Gate Farms has been growing food and bringing it to the tailgate markets for quite awhile but this is the first year that they are making a full and half share available with their wide variety of vegetables!
A Way of Life Farm www.awayoflifefarm.com
Jamie and his wife Sara Jane raise vegetables, fruit and pasture-raised pork in Rutherford County. They offer the flexibility of purchasing CSAs based on the season with the option of receiving a discount when buying several seasons.
In addition, they offer a pork CSA. In addition, they are in Asheville at the River Arts District Farmers’ Market as well as providing an oasis to one of rural North Carolina’s food deserts!I
Full Sun Farm http://www.fullsunfarm.com/
Alex and Vanessa offer a wide variety of CSA options which include a regular and extended season CSA share as well as a flower CSA and they are one of the few farms that also offer a Working CSA where customers can have a discounted weekly box in exchange for work on the farm.
This can be a great way to really learn where your food comes from and meet your local farmers too. They also offer market shares which can be used to purchase food directly from the North Asheville or River Arts Markets.
Olivette Farms www.olivettefarm.com Justin is the farm manager of a brand new farm located at the Olivette community along the French Broad River in Alexander. Since moving to Asheville from Atlanta in December, they have planted an acre of blueberry bushes, a greenhouse and are planning several acres of vegetables for the planned community and the community.
They are currently offering full, half and flower shares.
Hickory Nut Gap www.hickorynutfarm.com Hickory nut gap offers a meat CSA which includes grass fed beef, pastured pork and chicken in a variety of options. They are also offering a dinner that can be picked up at the same time as the CSA. In addition they have a new kitchen open that offers classes on preparing meat!
If you are interested in reading more about the local food scene here in Western North Carolina, you might want to check out the First Week of Spring Farmers Market post also.
Gain Your Benefits to Eating Local
Get your CSA share and get your benefits to eating local. I hope that you get a better feel of each farm and the programs that they offer and how to find them! We are so lucky in Western North Carolina that we have such a wonderful diverse group of farmers who provide local food in our community, and these are just a few! If you want to read more about the benefits of eating local and organic, you can find more at 10 Benefits Organic Food (vineripenutrition.com).
As a dietitian nutritionist in Asheville, I will be sharing seasonal recipes on my blog! You can find out a little bit more about me here!