This is a guest post brought to you by the brilliant Jo-Lynne Shane. Just wait until you hear about her newest venture!
I’ve always enjoyed finding local vendors for various foods. I like the personal touch, what can I say? And there is something almost romantic about eating food that is fresh off the farm, grown through personal toil and picked with loving hands. But it wasn’t until I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma that I developed a passion for supporting local farms and businesses by eating food that is grown locally and harvested in season. As best as I can, I am opting out of the industrial food chain in favor of foods that are grown closer to home by people who truly care about the animals they raise and the land they farm. I want to connect with the source of my food, look the farmer in the eye, see the cows grazing on green pasture, and I want my children to know this experience as well.
Here in Chester County, I’m fortunate that there are so many options for local food — from farms to CSAs to farm markets to whole food stores. There are so many options, I have spent the last six months or so researching online, asking around, and checking out new farms and stores to find local produce, meat and dairy.
And it seems that I am not alone. There is a revival, of sorts, going on in our country. Thanks to books like In Defense of Food and movies like Food, Inc., people are waking up to how animals are raised in industrial farms and what goes into their food. They are seeking out better options, but it can be intimidating and overwhelming and unfortunately cost prohibitive at times.
I get a lot of questions when people find out how we eat and where I shop, and I hear the same thing time and again… “It’s just so overwhelming.” “I don’t know where to start.” “I know I need to find a source of ______ but I just haven’t had the time.”
So last week I launched a new website called Eat Local Philly. The purpose is to provide a resource for local food sources in the Philadelphia area but from a personal perspective. I want it to have a real voice, but also be useful and help people find locally grown and produced foods in our area.
Of course now I’m trying to get the word out! I’ve already had a great response, and the ladies behind the Philly Burb sites are generously allowing me to have a regular column on their county blogs to share with you what I find and help spread the word about Eat Local Philly. You can subscribe by email or RSS to receive daily updates, and I’ve also started a Facebook Page as a means of connecting with those in our area who are looking for sources for local foods as well as those who want to share what they find. There are already some good conversations going on the Discussion Board so feel free to check it out and jump right in!
I can’t possibly cover the whole region by myself, so I’m taking submissions. I would love to hear from you if you know of a place not yet covered on the site. If you HAVE shopped at one of the places we’ve reviewed, please take the time to leave a comment on that entry and let us know about your experience there, what you like to buy, and really anything you want to share that might be useful to others.
I would love to make Eat Local Philly THE go-to resource for local foods in the Philadelphia area. Won’t you help me!?
Jo-Lynne is the founder of Eat Local Philly. When she’s not seeking out new sources for local foods, she is probably elbow-deep in bread dough or musing on weighty topics such as fashion and reality TV on her personal blog, Musings of a Housewife. You can also find her beautifying the blogosphere at DCR Design.