The following is a message from Molly Nicholie, ASAP’s Local Food Campaign Director, about how to support our local farms:
Farms in the mountains have a history of resilience, offering subsistence to families and adapting to the changes of markets and development. One of the strengths of farms in our region is their ability to diversify – if one crop or venture fails, they have other income streams to keep them afloat. But farms in our region need our support as economics 101 applies to even the most picturesque farms in the valley.
We are all very disappointed with the loss of this year’s Farm Tour. The tour is an important income generator for participating farms as well as a way to tell the story of their farm. Fortunately, the diversification and creativity of farmers and entrepreneurs in our region offer us a variety of ways to engage with and support them.
Looking through the Local Food Guide you can find an amazing array of farms, from small market gardens to large wholesale operations;beginning farmers to those that have been farming for generations; Certified Organic to conventional farming practices; and foods from apples to zucchini. Discover the countless ways you can connect with farms in the region to learn the story of the people and communities behind the food you eat.
- Stop at a roadside stand
- Ask for Appalachian Grown™ in the grocery store
- Plan a trip to a U-pick orchard
- Try new products and seek out old favorites
- Bring a friend to a farmers market
- Create family traditions around visiting farms or shopping at a farmers tailgate market
- Join a CSA, some farms may still have fall shares available
- Ask questions about where food comes from and how it is grown
- Visit a farm to see sorghum syrup or apple cider made
- Pick up the print version of the Local Food Guide to choose a restaurant that sources from local farms
- Take a cheese making class or a workshop at a farm
- Stay connected through newsletters and social media so you don’t miss events
- Find seasonal recipes or visit a farmers market cooking demonstration
- Tour a winery, creamery, or grist mill
- Preserve the bounty of the season by making pickles and jams, or support small businesses that do
- Attend a farm dinner or special farmers market suppers
- Find homegrown and handcrafted gifts at holiday markets and farm stores
- Search the online Local Food Guide by product or places to find farms, farmers tailgate markets or businesses that purchase from Appalachian Grown farms
- Give kids a chance to hear cows moo in person and taste tomatoes off the vine
- Learn about the time, skill and effort that goes into farming and say thank you!