If you’ve felt anxiety about going to grocery stores lately, braved long lines only to find empty shelves, or ordered fast food to be delivered to your doorstep, there are a few healthy local options you could try instead. Numerous farmers provide the Chippewa Valley with fresh, local food, and you might find peace of mind in supporting businesses that prioritize flexibility, nourishment, and safety.
The Aldo Leopold Center performed a study on how food purchased in the Midwest comes to our plates. They discovered most produce travels an average of 1400 miles to Chicago before making its way to our community. This contributes to diminished food quality and increased food waste.
In this time of increased food insecurity, it’s more essential than ever to be mindful about what’s on our table. Here are some ideas you could try out to support local farmers and get the best bang for your buck:
1. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) – This and other subscription farm services are an easy way to ensure funneling resources back into the community.
2. Together Farms – Located in Mondovi and specializes in organically-raised, nutrient dense meats. In addition to their bulk meat and meat memberships, they also provide all organic, gluten-free and dairy-free meal kits delivered straight to your home. The meals are designed as easy, stress-free nourishment that can be dumped right in the slow cooker. Delivered on Mondays, these kits are an excellent option for households during this time where many may be busier than usual, or grocery trips are few and far between.
3. Amanda’s Eggs – Specializes in pasture-grown poultry and cage free eggs. Amanda provides flexible delivery options within city limits, and also encourages consumers to visit the farm directly to witness her “respectful stewardship for the animals and land.” Amanda is passionate about the power of providing people a quality product. With so many hands between the food and the consumer, large corporations are forgetting about quality in favor of quantity. Amanda points out that the cost of the product goes down when the distance between producer and consumer is more direct, and she strives to do that through her flexible, accessible direct marketing, both online and in the community.
4. Solheim Farms – Tucked into the Eleva ridge in southern Eau Claire County, they believe “no meal is greater than its produce.” Their purpose is “to share the best produce [they] can grow with all individuals of our community who are interested.” The farm sells CSA subscriptions for a season (mid June-mid October) for $420, with a weekly pick up at The Coffee Grounds in Eau Claire. This method allows for flexibility with subscribers who may want more or less in their haul, and gives the farmers an additional opportunity for selling their intentionally-grown produce.
5. Farm Sweet Farm – An 80-acre grass-based farm run by the Flashinskis, they specialize in delivery via “meat meets,” allowing the consumer to specify a location to pick up their haul. While the farm values creating a flexible customer experience, they also encourage any and all visitors to witness their farming practices by appointment. The Flashinski’s go beyond providing quality food, boasting their farm as “a quiet space to enjoy life and witness the miracle of birth.” They emphasize the multitude of reasons to buy local, including the importance of keeping food miles to a minimum.
With local providers such as these, it’s easier than ever to invest in the folks who make the Chippewa Valley unique and to prioritize our overall health. Next time you plan for a grocery run, consider one of these hard working farmers instead and reap the benefits of supporting your local farmers and your community as a whole.