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Saturday, January 28, 2017

How to buy from a local farmer

There are so many slogans in the food industry that promote buying local. I am sure you have heard some of them, at least one of them.

Support your local farmer

Locally grown

Fresh from the farm

Friend a farmer, eat locally

Farm to table

and the list goes on....

There are so many great reasons to do all the above.

- You will receive the freshest produce, meat, bread, etc.
- You are buying local and supporting your local farmers, therefore keeping profits within your community.
- Eating healthy.
- Knowing where your food comes from.
just to name a few.

But you may be wondering how to buy from a local farmer? 

I will share with you a tips on how to find a local farm near you with some great resources that are in our farmers market sector of the agriculture industry. The technology that we have at our fingertips allows us to find what we are looking for easily. These resources will do just the above to help you in

Supporting your local farmers by eating locally grown and bringing your food straight from the farm to the table! 

So how can you buy from local farmers?
A lot of the times your hometown grocery stores or even larger grocery store chains will have locally grown produce for sale for shoppers to buy. Here in Indiana, we are able to grow a variety of produce during the peak season and local grocery stores like to provide locally grown products for their consumers to purchase. There will usually be signs on the the produce that is grown locally simply stating "Locally Grown."  If you're shopping at the grocery store, be sure to purchase those locally grown fruits and vegetables when they are available.
You can also seek out your local farmers markets!

You may be wondering how do you find out about local farms in your area.

There is a great resource website where you can find farms all over the United States! 
There are several ways to search on Local Harvest. Farmers can have their own farm page on the Local Harvest website so it will be listed when a customer searches. So if you are wanting to find farmers markets in your area, simply enter in your zip code in the search bar on the top of the screen. It will bring up every farm and farmers market that is in your area. Searching for specific product in your area is also an option. 

Through Local Harvest you are also able to search just for farmers markets, farms, and CSA programs alone. The Local Harvest website will bring up searches for anything in the United States that the farmer has registered and entered for their farm on the page. 

So this can help you find a farmers market or several in your area for you to shop from. Local Harvest searches nation wide, but for this post I searched for Indianapolis with results of 20 farmers markets in the Indianapolis area.

You may want to support one of a few farmers on a more regular basis by supporting their CSA program. You can read more about the benefits of CSA here and here on my blog. If you haven't read my blog before you may not know, but my husband and I grow produce and pumpkins and we offer our own CSA in our area for our customers to participate in if they wish.  The Local Harvest website allows you to search just for specifically CSA programs in your area. Farms with CSA programs will appear and it can link you directly to that farm's website to read about their CSA more and possibly sign up for a subscription. CSA programs have become a popular way for consumers to buy local and its a great way to support farmers and really get to know the farmer and where your food comes from.

With technology these days, consumers also have access to what is called food hubs. Food hubs are where farmers and producers to get their products easily accessible to consumers. Food hubs provide the logistics on selling, collecting, and distributing the products that the consumers purchase on their online store (food hub). There are various food hubs all over the United States, but if you are in Indiana, specifically the Indianapolis area, a great one is FarmersMarket.com.  You simply go on to their website and order from several local farms and artisans. They collect the items for your order and distribute them via delivery to your home or pick up location that you have selected. How great is that! Fresh produce, meat, bread, etc delivered right to your door as much as weekly if you would like! This is a great option for you if you don't have time to visit the local farmers market each week but still want to purchase fresh local products.

If you are one that would like to shop at the farmers market, chit chat with the farmers and enjoy the atmosphere be sure to check out the Local Harvest website and search for a market near you!

Here in Indiana, there is a new program available to consumers while shopping the farmers markets. Developed by Purdue Extension, it is called Food Link. It will be a great resource for consumers to look up vegetables and fruits while shopping. The program is designed to connect consumers with useful information about their food choices with the use of their smart phones and the QR code cards displayed in the grocery store or at the farmers market. Each product has a card with a QR code on it. With the technology of our smart phones, simply scan the QR code with a QR code reader app.

The program will then bring up a link from the QR code to the product.
So for example I scanned the QR code for apple. Clicked on the link and am brought to a variety of information!!

The scientific name of the apple,
When it is in season,
Types of apples,
Pairings - so different things that pair well with apples,
Preparation - with even a video of apple cutting tips!!
Storage - for short term and long term,
Links for more information,
Food Link Recipes,
Pinterest Recipes,
A quick fact,
Nutritional information,
and even food safety tips.

How cool is that!! Through technology we are able to look up all that information with the simple scan of a code!! I have the QR Reader app on my phone and it even stores QR code history for you.

There might be other programs similar in other states, but this Food Link program really gives you a lot of information that is easily accessible at a quick glance! It is even implemented in some grocery stores around our state.

If you're not in Indiana, you can still benefit from the program by visiting the Food Link Resource page. You may have seen collard greens in the grocery store before, but not know much about them. Reference the resource page and find out all the information I listed above, but of collard greens. There are 61 different fruits and vegetables that have full resource pages on the website.

As I have mentioned before here and if you follow my blog, my husband and I grow produce and pumpkins and are vendors in our local farmers market. We have this program and are excited to implement it in our produce stand at the market. We plan to display the cards in our stand for easy access for our customers as well as have the Food Link brochure available.

With technology today all these programs really are helpful for us as growers. Consumers are looking for farms in their area and we are able to promote our farm and CSA using Local Harvest. We hope to become part of a food hub in the very near future as well. The Food Link program will be beneficial for us as we are at the farmers market. We often times get customers that haven't heard of a vegetable that we have available or maybe they have but not sure how to prepare it. Sometimes the market is busy so these produce cards will be great to help share information about specific produce, how to prepare it and recipes we can share with them as well.

This post is sponsored by Indiana Soybean Alliance,
 but thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 


  1. I love Food Link! I use it myself and have found it a great resource.
    Posts like this are important for consumers because you illustrated a variety of programs that identify local foods.
    Another great program, one that you would qualify for as a grower, is Indiana Grown. It is a local food marketing initiative through the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and is in partnership with Indiana Pork, Indiana Dairy, Indiana Beef, Purdue Extension and Farm Bureau.
    I would love to share more with you at your convenience!

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