It’s hard to believe after I have been knee-deep in snow several times today while taking Luna the Dog out for her potty breaks, but spring is really just around the corner. Spring Equinox is Monday, March 20. While I cannot see the soil in my area, life is possibly very different for you, and farmers in your area have already begun prepping their fields for spring plantings. If you live in the warmest of places in the Northern Hemisphere, there may already be fresh produce available.
It’s time to find out where your local farm stands and farmers’ markets are, and when they will be open for business. Thankfully, there are some pretty good online tools to help you with that.
Local Harvest is a large database listing, searchable by town name or zip code, with farms, farm stands, farmers’ markets, CSAs, and more. It’s good to follow up on any information you find there before you hop in the car, because sometimes it is not up to date.
Eat Well Guide is another large database, but also includes restaurants and stores where you can find local products.
Check your city or town’s website. Many will list farmers’ markets.
Do an online search for farmers markets, farms, CSAs and farm stands in surrounding towns, as well as your town. You may have to drive a bit further, but the results will be worth it.
Go old-school and get a copy of your local newspaper. Farmers’ markets will be listed in the “events” section, or whatever your paper calls it, along with dates, hours of operation, and types of products offered.
Eating local does not only mean fruits and vegetables. There are small producers of meats, baked goods, cheeses, condiments, and specialty items in cities and towns everywhere. You just have to start looking for them. They may be right under your nose, in that shopping center you always go to, or on the way to work or school. Keep your eyes open, and you may be surprised.
Last but not least, remember I told you to have a plan? That applies here as well. Once you know when and where you can get local food, make it a part of your everyday routine. Put the farmers’ market on the calendar so you don’t forget to go. When you make out your grocery list, write down the names of the new shops and farm stands you intend to check out on the list, too. Plan on spending some extra time shopping for your food, so you can talk to the producers and farmers responsible for it. It may be completely psychological, but I swear to you the food tastes better when you can recall the face and voice of the person who made it available to you.
It’s time to put all your plans into motion. Spring is here! Start eating local!