There is a challenge in our area to go one month purchasing local food and product without buying from sources like chain supermarkets and warehouse stores. We have accepted this challenge personally and professionally and can attest to the fact that the term “challenge” is appropriate for this project. The fact is, some things are easier to purchase locally than others. No matter, the fact is buying local has significant advantages whether you are interested in higher quality ingredients, stimulating the local economy and/or reducing your “carbon footprint”.
It began when Christie McDowell, owner of the Good Farm in Berlin, challenged herself this very same way last Summer. “The goal I set was to buy as direct from the producer as possible and buy nothing with preservatives or any unnecessary additives,” McDowell said. “I found the gaps in local food options, what you can get and where you can get it. I bought some of the healthy options at Ocean City Organics in West Ocean City if farmers’ markets didn’t have something”. Bryan Brushmiller, owner of Burley Oaks Brewery which is preparing to open it’s doors on August 12th, was inspired by McDowell’s project and has joined forces to expand the challenge. Brushmiller himself purchases rye, hops and barley from local farmers for use in his handcrafted brew.
Shelly and I have always been committed to purchasing as much locally as possible. Not because it’s the new “buzz word” for marketing, but because it just simply seems, to us, to be the right thing to do. When you purchase locally, ingredients are fresher and higher in quality, you stimulate your local economy and because “the goods” are not transported from hundreds of miles away, the “carbon footprint” is reduced which helps Mother Earth.
Owning a business and having to purchase product in bulk poses significant difficulty with some vendors. Dairy has presented a challenge, although local eggs haven’t been easy to purchase on a bulk scale either. Ironically, several egg producers in the area have committed all of their product to the Whole Foods Corporation. Go figure, the “big boys” who also promote buying locally are preventing the small businesses from doing the same. Unbleached and unbromated flour is a whole other story. On a positive note, fruits, veggies, beef, poultry, seafood, coffee, cheeses, honey, soaps, lotions, crafts, jewelry and of course, all natural DESSERTS, BREADS and BEVERAGES are no problem!
This challenge is raising awareness in our community and identifying the gaps, that together, we can work to fill. Brushmiller and McDowell want anyone raising food or fishing locally who want to promote their wares to contact them at www.burlyoak.com and at www.wegrowgoodfood.com.