Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Fair Food Farmstand

I got to tell you, it's even more difficult than I thought when I began this blog to find information on what we can get local in the winter months here in South Jersey. I was hoping to do a post on where to get local honey which should be available all year long, but most of the websites for the beekeepers and honey makers in NJ are not particularly informative. A few allow you to order from their website, but none have a list of what stores, if any, carry their products locally.

So instead, I thought I'd talk about the Fair Food Stand in The Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. For me, it's a short 20 minute train ride into Philly to the Market.
The Fair Food Farmstand carries a variety of fresh produce, meats, poultry, dairy, eggs, cheese and value-added goods from over 90 organic and sustainable farms and other businesses throughout the southeast Pennsylvania region. We emphasize local and artisinal foods from small-scale producers, like humanely raised meats, organic and specialty fruits and vegetables, and raw milk cheeses. Come visit the Farmstand, open Tuesday through Sunday on the Arch St. side of Reading Terminal Market between Metropolitan Bakery and Bee Natural. (hey, Bee Natural - maybe they carry local honey products).
It's been a while since I've been to The Reading Terminal Market. Perhaps it's time I make a trip across the Delaware.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fifth Annual Brewer's Plate

I just received news of The Fifth Annual Brewer's Plate event in an e-mail newsletter that came from The Fair Food Farmstand (to subscribe to their newsletter, click here).

The Fifth Annual Brewer's Plate
Our fame favorite craft beers and gourmet food at a new bigger and better location...
What: The Brewer's Plate is the main fundraiser for the year to support ALL of the programs at Fair Food. This marquee event of Philly Beer Week 2009 showcases excellent pairings of gourmet food from independent, local restaurants and craft beers from local, artisinal brewers.
Where: UPENN Museum of Archeaology and Anthropology
When: Sunday, March 8, 2009
Time: TBD

Stay tuned for more details...
Hmmmm. Gourmet food from independent, local restaurants and craft beers from local, artisinal brewers. Sounds good to me. When I get more information, I'll pass it along.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

The locavore in winter: join a CSA now

CSA is short for community supported agriculture. Here is what the fabulous website, Localharvest, has to say about CSA's.
Many farms offer produce subscriptions, where buyers receive a weekly or monthly basket of produce, flowers, fruits, eggs, milk, meats, or any sort of different farm products.

A CSA, (for Community Supported Agriculture) is a way for the food buying public to create a relationship with a farm and to receive a weekly basket of produce. By making a financial commitment to a farm, people become "members" (or "shareholders," or "subscribers") of the CSA. Most CSA farmers prefer that members pay for the season up-front, but some farmers will accept weekly or monthly payments. Some CSAs also require that members work a small number of hours on the farm during the growing season.

A CSA season typically runs from late spring through early fall. The number of CSAs in the United States was estimated at 50 in 1990, and has since grown to over 2200.
While spring may be a while off, right now is the time to sign up for a local CSA. Many of them have begun to take subscriptions and if you wait to sign up until spring, it may be too late. They may not have any more subscriptions to offer.

LocalHarvest has a search feature that allows you to find CSA's in your local area. On the CSA page, simply type in your zip code and a list of CSA's that are in your region will be generated. There were 46 listings generated when I typed in my own SJ zipcode - some more convenient than others, and one that I am considering joining.

If you want to stretch your locavore wings, then joining a CSA is a great way to do it. You will get local in season produce and other food and you will be supporting a local farmer. They need all the support they can get.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Locavore podcast

I just found a free podcast on iTunes called Homegrown that is described as "a weekly podcast exploring all aspects of the locavore and slow food movement. While not specific to South Jersey, I am hoping that it has some good information and tips on the locavore movement in general.

I'll report more on it when I get a chance to listen to an episode or two, but that might not be until next weekend so I thought I'd let you know about it now. If anyone listens to it, pop back here and let us know what you think in the comments.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The locavore in winter: local wines

As I mentioned yesterday, starting this blog may have been easier if I had waited until the spring, but I didn't want to wait. For the next few days, I'll be talking about what we can get local, even in the middle of January.

First up - wine. No one should be surprised I'm starting with wine. I'll be heading to the Boston Wine Expo in a couple of weeks with my friend Susan. There probably won't be too many wineries local to my region there, but if there are, I will definitely spend some time at those booths.

There are many wineries withing a hundred mile radius of my home. There is a good list of New Jersey wineries at NJDiningGuide. Since I live so close to the Pennsylvania border, I am also in close proximity to the wineries in Chester County, PA. In fact, a couple of years ago, Susan and I spent a weekend traveling the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail. Even the wineries of beautiful Bucks County, PA would fall within an acceptable locavore distance.

If you enjoy wine, but you've never taken the time to visit a local winery and have a tasting in their tasting room, you really should do it. You'll get to sample several of their wines before you buy them. You'll also probably get a few lessons in grape growing and wine making, along with a history lesson about the vineyard.

There may not be any Jersey tomatoes or corn available right now, but that's okay. We can still support local wineries throughout the entire year. If you can't take a trip to a local winery, ask at your liquor or wine store what they have in stock that comes from local producers. Pick one bottle that strikes your fancy and take it home.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Welcome to the South Jersey Locavore Blog

I don't have time for another blog, but this one is just begging to be written. There is very little out there about locavorism in South Jersey. I can find a lot about North Jersey/NYC. I can find some about Philadelphia (which I consider inside my locavore perimeter). But not much about South Jersey.

So I'm going to start it.

Starting a blog about what is available to locavores in my region in the middle of January is a bit of a challenge. This would be so much easier in May when the farmers markets are about to open and everyone is beginning to plant a garden. Yet, I find myself compelled to start it now. Today.

My posting may be sporadic at first. But I hope to build this into a community where those concerned with where their food originates can come to find resources and conversation.

I am not a full fledged locavore. I call myself a locavore wannabe. I grow an organic garden and shop at the farmers markets when they are open. But I have a long way to go to be able to call myself a true locavore. I'm aspiring to buy a little more of my family's food from local sources this year than I did last year.