Taking a break from ingredients today to share some info about the ultimate source for local food: your local farmers’ market. Since Minnesota Locavore began, I’ve had lots of great emails and comments, but a lot of them involved other regions. “I really love the rhubarb ice cream, do you know where I can find rhubarb in Seattle?” In some cases, a few Google searches = problem solved. Other times, local food requires local knowledge.
Not only is the farmers’ market a great place to buy produce, meats and dairy, but it also can serve as the information hub for your local food questions. Most vendors and coordinators are also supporters of local food. Can’t find local hot dogs for your summer BBQ? Why not ask the guy with grass-fed beef if there’s another producer in the area? Just because you don’t see it at the market, doesn’t mean the knowledge there can’t lead you to it. (Icky. I think there’s three negatives in that sentence. Wish I paid attention more in 10th grade English). Today’s Find it Local Friday has three ways to help you find your local farmers’ market in whatever place you call local.
Cooperative Extension/State Department of Agriculture First place I suggest you look is your cooperative extension office. I’m willing to bet you’ve never been there. Not even sure where the extension office is? Check here. It may seem old-fashioned, but these folks know their stuff. You can also search the website of your state’s Department of Agriculture. Most post a directory of farmers’ markets in conjunction with state licensing requirements. Here’s links to some regional sites:
Minnesota: Minnesota Grown
Wisconsin: Savor Wisconsin
Iowa: State Directory
North Dakota: North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association
South Dakota: HealthySD.gov
Illinois: State Dept. of Ag Website
Local Harvest.org is a one-stop shop for all things local food. From the homepage you can search by zip code for farms and farmers’ markets in your area. Their handy directory is a publicly maintained (farmers/producers sign themselves up for listings), nationwide source for local organic and sustainable products. Spend some time here, there’s lots to offer.
Locavore App for Android, iPhone and iPad by LocalDirt.com A reader recommended this app for me earlier this year. I have it on my iPhone and reference it often to see what’s in season and where the best local food hot spots are when traveling. It coordinates with Google Maps and the Localdirt.com database to pinpoint farmers’ markets based on your location. It is also Facebook enabled so you can post where and when you are eating great local food. Best feature: It’s totally free.
Hope some of these resources are helpful in connecting you to more local food. If you venture out to the farmers’ market this weekend, send a comment at let other readers know about what you’re eating. Happy Friday everyone!