Buying locally is easy, especially in Columbia.
Those of us who live in Columbia are blessed with a wide variety of the city’s benefits. One of my favourites, though, is the amazing foods we have access to. We have great local restaurants and great local foods.
Urban homesteading is a process, and as much as I would like to produce 100% of my own food RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW, it’s just not realistic. My goal is to produce more food than we did last year, and keep that trend going. But we can’t just go from 0 to 100% in one year, or even two.
So in the meantime, I will happily support my local farmers by purchasing their products. Last week Capturing CoMo posted about locally owned grocery stores, and I’d like to follow up with a post on where to buy local foods in Columbia in general.
1. Farmer’s markets. This is the most obvious choice and is what typically comes to mind when people think “local foods.” We have two great farmer’s markets here in Columbia: Columbia Farmers Market and Boone County Farmers Market. Columbia Farmers Market has the most hours and locations. The farmers markets have also recently begun having a monthly market on the University of Missouri campus. Wherever you live or work in Columbia, you’re likely not too far from a great market.
2. CSAs. At this point in the season it’s too late to join a CSA, but it’s something to consider when farms are accepting applications in the winter. (What’s a CSA?)
A CSA is a great option if you can’t always get to the market or have a large family. Expect to be flexible if you join a CSA because you get whatever happens to be ready to harvest that week. Sometimes you may get a large quantity of one type of vegetable all at once, so you may need to be creative in how you prepare and/or preserve it.
Here are some of the farms offering CSAs in the Columbia area:
The ultimate place to look for farmer’s markets and CSAs is LocalHarvest.org. If you don’t live in Columbia, just type in your zip code and it’ll search for the farms, farmer’s markets or CSAs in your area.
3. Hy-Vee. I’ve been buying locally produced cheeses and eggs (Goatsbeard Farm and Stanton Brothers) from Hy-Vee for a while now, but it wasn’t until just recently that they seem to have really gotten on the bandwagon of local produce.
I went shopping today and was totally impressed by the amount of local vegetables they had available. It looks like they’ve made a connection with Missouri Food 4 Missouri People, and that’s where they’re sourcing their produce from. When I was there today they had Missouri zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, green peppers, red onions, garlic and eggplant. (There were also sad-looking Arkansas tomatoes on the same table. :))
4. Wilson’s. This one really took me by surprise. I went to Wilson’s Garden Center on Friday to see what they had in the way of seeds or bedding plants of fall crops, and was amazed by the amount of local produce they had available to sell. They source primarily from Amish and Mennonites in the area, but also work with some other local growers as well.
Since Hy-Vee didn’t have any local fruits, I went back to Wilson’s today and picked up local watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches and nectarines.
5. The Root Cellar. I haven’t actually purchased anything from The Root Cellar yet, so I’m not in the best position to talk about them, but if I neglected to include them my list would definitely be incomplete.
The Root Cellar has a whole variety of items: produce, grains, milk and others. When I was there I chatted with the owner a bit, and she told me that the majority of the produce they sell is actually grown on the farm she and her husband own. They also use the produce at her husband’s business, Broadway Brewery.
As always, I am extremely supportive of growing your own. But if you aren’t interested in or aren’t able to grow your own, these are some great sources for amazing local foods in Columbia.