“Shop locally,” is the food advice you always hear from celebrity chefs and food critics. Great advice, in fact, if you live in an area large enough to have a butcher and a farmer’s market, maybe even two, and a bakery. But, what if you live in a small rural area that is still waiting to get a second grocery store, much less an actual farmer’s market?
You may just be out of luck.
But, then again, until you look, you never know what you might find; never assume!
Where Is the Local Produce Hiding?
I live in one of those rural Appalachian areas myself, and I’ve longed for the types of farmer’s markets, bakeries and butcher shops that dot the landscape of more urban areas. One would think that living in rural areas, there would at least be a lot of roadside stands during the summertime, but there just aren’t. Between the costs most cities now impose on such attempts by locals to peddle their goods—is there anything one can do nowadays without getting a “permit” of one kind or another?—and the lack of local support such stands often receive when they DO give it a go, many of those who once brought fresh produce to their communities each summer now find it is more trouble than it is worth and no longer bother.
For the last couple of years, I have lamented my fate, living in an area where I cannot seem to find anything fresh off the farm. I grow a little on my own—we almost always have an abundance of fresh tomatoes, and this year the potatoes did well—but I’m definitely not a farmer. It would be wonderful to be able to go to a roadside stand somewhere and actually pick up whatever they have coming in that week—peppers, beans, onions, squash, watermelons. But, alas, there just has been nothing to be found. This year, however, I reached out via Facebook to others in the area, to see if there might be something somewhere that I was missing. And, much to my happy surprise, it was a shot worth taking.
Facebook and Twitter: A Wealth of Local Food Info!
Sometimes we forget that our social media tools can actually have a purpose other than just posting cute pictures of our dogs and kids (which, let’s face it, are really only unbelievably cute to us). When you need help with something in your area, ask your Facebook friends or Twitter buddies! Using this tactic, I located not only a roadside stand nearby on a road I just never travel (the trouble with roadside stands: they don’t exactly have an advertising budget), but a great place in a nearby community, Mountain Fresh Creamery. Not only do they have local produce that they announce daily on Facebook, but they also have fresh eggs, bottle their own milk and—get this—they make fresh ice cream in a wild array of flavors! I mean, seriously, where else in North Georgia are you going to find Strawberry Basil Crunch? Now, how could this little jewel have been within 20 minutes of my home and I not know it?
Because I was not using all of my resources to search.
Social media can be a great tool when used efficiently and with purpose. Give it a try the next time you get a craving for fresh local produce; you might just be surprised at what you find!
To check out Mountain Fresh Creamery, visit their Facebook page.