A Seat at the Local Foods Table
Last month I attended the 14th Annual Buy Local Foods Seminar, and I was excited to hear from their lineup of local food producers. Two Clermont county vegetable farmers shared the very different business strategies they are pursuing. Bear Creek Farm provides a CSA and home delivery on a weekly basis and also makes and sells salsas from their own produce. They focus on direct-to-market production. Foxtail Farm in New Richmond grows organic vegetables, many in their 5 large high tunnels, and is presently selling wholesale only. Both utilize online apps and stores to connect and communicate with buyers.
Did you know honey is one of the 3 most faked foods? No, I don’t mean fake food like those plastic fries you prepared in your kiddie kitchen when you were 4 and tried to feed to your brother. Fake food as in not really honey. I had no idea! Gary of the Brown County Beekeepers Association explained that much of what is sold as “honey” in the United States is imported and may contain added sugars or other contaminants. When you buy honey from him and other local beekeepers, you get the real deal.
Two small ranchers from Brown and Adams county spoke about the a lack of local meat processing facilities and how it negatively affects their businesses. Smoky Hollow in Sardinia has raised angus beef since 1973. From whole cow to grill bundles, they have a wide variety of cuts. End of the Ridge Farms focuses on rotational grazing to improve the land and the animals’ health. Their grass fed beef is sold in smaller, by-the-piece and bundle packages.
Farther afield, Turtleback Ridge Farm and Brewery in Robertson County, Ky uses agritourism to bring customers out to their homestead and business. They have an established maple syrup business, but with the introduction of the brewery more people have an excuse to stop by, linger and appreciate their beautiful spot with a delicious bitter for sipping in one hand and a sweet syrup to take home for pancakes in the other. One look at their current draft list and it’s clear this would make a great day trip for beer and nature aficionados.
It’s takes extra effort to seek out local products like these rather than just buy what’s sitting on the grocery store shelf. But in return for the effort you get food you know, with a story close to home. These foods are an expression of this place and through eating I become intimately connected with it. Whenever you have the chance I recommend you enjoy what makes this corner of the world unique and delicious!
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