Beating Food Challenges: Finding Local Products

This week we bought several boxes of fruit from a local orchard.

Our own young fruit trees won’t meet our demands anytime soon, but there are a number of fruit orchards in our region.

We bought a variety of apples and pears for fresh eating and for preserving. Earlier in the season, peaches and cherries were available too.

 

By buying quantities of fruit from these orchards, we’re contributing to the local economy while stocking up our family’s supply of fruit for the coming year.

Plus, it was a fun outing with friends and family members. We’ll be canning some of the fruit together, too!

Many communities have sources of locally raised produce, eggs, meat, and poultry. Product sales regulations and permit requirements exist on city, county, state, province, and federal levels.

To learn about requirements in your area, consult your local extension office or department(s) of health, agriculture, or food safety.

How to find local foods?

Look for a local food farm guide at your chamber of commerce or library.

Visit local farmers markets or contact their managers during the off season for names of local producers.

Check local newspaper classifieds and online classifieds such as Craigslist.

Do an Internet search for the food you’re looking for plus the name of your city, county, or state. “Buy fresh” and “buy local” are good search terms.

Visit local butchers and small produce markets to purchase local products or get names of producers of products.

Inquire at your county extension office or other agricultural support agency.

Look for a fresh food co-op in your area.

See if your area is one of many with a year-round online fresh market.

In the U.S., check the USDA Food Compass Map.

In Canada and the U.S., look at the Eat Well Guide, Local Harvest 

Helpful resources

Why Buy Local? from LocalHarvest.org

How to Buy Local from Foodroutes.org

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass

All About CSAs: Community Supported Agriculture

Seasonal Buying Guide from FieldtoPlate.org

Eat Seasonable from SustainableTable.org

About meat and poultry

Availability of various types of meat and the corresponding sales regulations vary from area to area.

For example, here in Washington State, pork to be sold by the cut must be USDA inspected and specially handled. The packages in the photo at the right are labeled “not for sale” because the meat is from a whole-carcass purchase and was not processed for retail sale. 

You can learn about your local regulations at your regional department of agriculture or extension office.

USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Food Safety

For United States individual state department of agriculture offices, click here.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

USDA publication Slaughter and Processing Options and Issues for Locally Sourced Meat

Beef and Pork Whole Animal Buying Guide from Iowa State University Extension

Custom meat processing charts for beef and pork

Grassfed meat requires slower cooking at a lower temp than grainfed. Here’s some basic info and a simple chart by cookbook author Shannon Hayes.

Shannon’s cookbook: The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook: Healthy Cooking & Good Living with Pasture Raised Foods

 

Do you live in a country other than the U.S., or have other sources of local foods information to share? We’d love to have more local connections for all of our readers, and we invite you to share info and links in the comments section.

 

Previous posts in our Beating Food Challenges series:

Ten Realistic Ways to Overcome a Food Crisis

More About Beating Food Shortages and High Prices

Beating Food Challenges: Growing Veggies, Herbs, and Fruit

Beating Food Challenges: Raising Meat, Eggs, and Dairy 

In this series, we’re listing some great resources for each of our ten topics: growing vegetables, herbs, and fruitraising meat, eggs, and dairy; local food sources and buying freezer meat; food storage; food preservation; sprouting; foraging; bartering; and learning more and more to help along the way.

To get these upcoming posts delivered straight to your email inbox, subscribe in the Rural Living Insider box below or at the upper right corner of this page.

 

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