Know your farms, know your food
Posted on 17 Sep 2008 by Justin Ruckman
Christy Shi (said “Shy”) knows local food. For the past two years she’s been traveling around the Piedmont, visiting farms and making friends, running a local food club in Davidson, and more importantly, eating healthier and fresher food than probably anyone reading this blog. She took the time meet with myself and Justin Ritchie several days ago, before an early-morning flight to NYC.
We all know mainstream agriculture has pushed out the small farmers. And we all know the food we end up buying at any major retail grocery store has likely been shipped halfway across the country. But we hear about local, organic food everywhere these days, and there’s a reason: it’s fresher (obviously), healthier, better for our environment, and better for local economies.
So what’s the alternative to buying your food from the Harris Teeter down the street? Farmers markets? Many people have trouble finding the time to visit local markets, and in the end, a farmers market usually doesn’t have the range of food you’ll find at a grocery store.
That’s where Know Your Farms comes in, Christy’s local food club, which is expanding to three new locations this year outside of Davidson: University, Plaza-Midwood, and Huntersville. Christy is doing her part to reshape our food distribution infrastructure by providing a wide variety of meats (including pork, beef, ostrich, poultry, and turkey), eggs, produce, and dairy (including goats milk, yogurt, cheeses, and cow’s milk) — all straight from small local farmers, fresher and healthier than most anything you could get access to without growing/raising it yourself.
Membership to the club for the upcoming season is $80, which covers expenses incurred traveling and collecting the food once a month for four months, October through January. Think of it like Costco, except fresh and local. Members can then visit any of the four dropoff locations to purchase their food. For produce, members fill out a form (available on the website) that shows what’s currently fresh and available, and lets you specify how much you’re willing to spend. Upon pickup, you’ll receive your money’s worth in a variety of the freshest produce available.
photo taken at Matthews Community Farmers Market by Justin Ritchie
There’s one more component to Know Your Farms, which contributes another level of meaning to the club’s name. Members are asked to help in the process of collecting food, for one four-hour session during their course of membership. This provides people a chance to help their local farmers, while learning a bit about where their food is coming from. Anyone who opts out of this will need to add $40 to their membership fee.
In addition to individuals, the club will soon be servicing restaurants, delivering goods via a refrigerated truck. For more info about this (or anything else), you’ll want to get in touch with Christy.
Check out the Know Your Farms website for a ton of information, including how to join. You’ll need to act fast though, the deadline for this year’s membership is coming up this Saturday, September 20th.
You can also find out even more about Christy and the club through a recent article and slightly older interview at DavidsonNews.net, the Observer’s recent profile; or of course, you can follow her on Twitter.
So what are the prices like for the local grown food? I can imagine its not too much more to the “retail” food you can get now because price hike due to high gas prices. I believe it is a much better option because you know where you food comes from and you never have to worry about it getting cut off due to come event that happens across the country.
loving to new cltblog on location style. we could all learn from this one. great insights
Here’s a list of last Spring’s prices to give an idea of how much the food goes for.