Press-Republican

Columns

February 10, 2014

It takes demand to further the supply

I went to the Winter Farmers Market in Plattsburgh last weekend, and I was surprised there weren’t more customers there.

If we as consumers want local food, we need to get out there and buy it. The more we buy, the more our growers will grow. At last week’s market there were potatoes, sweet potatoes, celeriac, carrots, onions, garlic, camembert cheese, eggs, chicken, lamb, beef, honey and maple syrup. I know I’m missing some items but you get the idea.

Our fourth-annual Food from the Farm event is coming up Saturday, March 1, at the City Recreation Center on the Oval (same place as the winter market). Every year people ask us why we hold this big event in March, when there’s no local food around.

But that’s just the point. There is local food to be had. And there would be even more if customers asked for it. Our main goal of this event is to energize consumers to get excited about local food.

At this event you can shop from the many vendors (we had 24 farms there last year), talk with the growers, sign up for CSAs, get information about each of the farms, and help yourself to the chili, soup, stew and other dishes prepared using local food. Last year we had 350 people attend, this year we’re hoping to reach 500. To register, visit our website at cce.cornell.edu/clinton or call our office.

If you wish you had some of your own food left in your refrigerator, now is a good time to make plans for this summer’s garden. Canning, freezing and drying are all good ways of preserving products you grow yourself or buy at local markets or farms.

But there are many products that last well into winter without much fussing. I just made leek and potato soup from the last of my own leeks and potatoes from a local farm. I harvested my leeks in November and have kept them in a plastic grocery bag in my refrigerator ever since.

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Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

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Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

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