New Jersey Locavore Resources

Back in March, I wrote about my self-imposed challenge to prepare at least one meal a week comprised of locally (and ideally, organically) raised meats and produce. So far, my family and I have survived, and it’s been quite a learning experience! Through books, magazines, and websites, I’ve discovered that the “locavore movement” is in full force.  The term, “locavore” (2007’s Oxford Word of the Year) refers to a person who consumes locally grown foods as much as possible. An unofficial guideline used to determine whether a food is local is if it was grown or harvested within a 100-mile radius.

Using the Radius Around Point Map via Free Map Tools, a free, online resource, I figured out the 100-mile radius (red circle) from my home address, which happens to encompass all of New Jersey. Just to see what townships, towns, and area remained, I calculated the 50-mile radius (green circle), as well as the 25-mile radius (purple). While anything grown in New Jersey keeps me within my challenge parameters, I’ve focused on farms, orchards, and roadside stands close to my home, easily keeping me within the 25-mile radius.

Through my quest to buy local and help minimize my family’s overall “food miles,” I’ve found some New Jersey-specific websites, which have been especially helpful:

The Produce Directory on the New Jersey Farm Bureau’s website is a great resource for finding fruits and vegetables grown and harvested in New Jersey. You can generate a list of farms based on a specific food item or a specific location (by city or by county). Each farm entry includes the farms address, contact information, hours, specialties, pick-your-own options, and available produce. For the Facebook users out there, the New Jersey Farm Bureau has a Facebook Page, allowing you to get directory updates and NJ farm-related information.

Jersey Fresh (via the New Jersey Department of Agriculture) provides a cornucopia of information.  In addition to directories (by county) for roadside markets, community farmers markets, and pick-your-own farms, the site provides “Jersey Fresh Recipes,” as well as tips for choosing fresh produce. Each farm or market entry in the directory provides contact information, directions, as well as produce availability.

The idea behind “Slow Food” links food preparation and consumption with a commitment to community and the environment. Slow Food Central New Jersey (a local chapter of Slow Food USA) provides links to local farms, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, and Farmers’ Markets, as well as information about upcoming events in the area, which are centered around local foods.

While Local Harvest is not a New Jersey-specific site, it is a site is an invaluable resource. In addition to using its extensive directory to locate farms, markets, CSAs, and other sources close to where you live, the site allows you to find where you can locally acquire a specific food items. Venues for products, such as grass-fed meats/livestock, nut/seeds, grains, processed foods (e.g., bread, honey, and syrup), fruit, vegetables, dairy/eggs, and much more, are included in Local Harvest’s directory.

While I’m certainly not the hyperlocavore, I am definitely enjoying the adventures of local food challenge! I hope you find these sites as helpful as I have for locating local produce, meats, and other food products.

- Anna, Hopewell Branch


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