The Canadian 100 Mile Diet

| 18/04/2009 | Reply

Come and get it

Local food map: ‘People are craving this info’


The hunger for local food is so strong, you can almost hear stomachs growling.

The
Essex County Federation of Agriculture is getting 10 calls and e-mails
a day as consumers wait for the area’s first local food map to be
printed.

The highly anticipated brochure should be available May
1 and will give consumers a way to find local fruits, vegetables, meat
and more. Consumers may discover there’s also locally produced flour,
popcorn, cheese, milk and honey.

“It’s a time in history when
people are talking about the 100-mile diet,” says map co-ordinator
Antonio Gomez. “People are craving for this information.’

Gomez
says the map comes at a perfect time. Consumers can distract themselves
from the economy by taking a drive out to the county to pick up fresh
food. They’ll know where their food comes from, could save some money
and will be contributing to the local economy, he said.

With Easter sales off 20 to 30 per cent, Jason Fuerth of Ewe Dell Family Farms is ready for that.

“Any bump in business would be good right now.”

The
Lakeshore sheep farm is used to taking calls from consumers. Ewe Dell
Family Farms has depended on selling directly to meat shops and
consumers for the last 25 years.

The farm sells about 5,000
locally raised lambs a year. Since 1994, they’ve had someone from the
Muslim faith conduct Halal slaughters at the farm.

And in the last year and a half, the farm has been selling lamb chops, sausage and shishkabobs from the farm.

“We’ve never advertised. All of our growth has come through word of mouth,” Fuerth says.

Now
farms and agriculture-related businesses are advertising through the
map. The federation knew people wanted to buy local food. They just
didn’t know where to get it.

Jagir Chana of Chana Foods in
Tecumseh said the flour mill wants to attract locavores, people in the
growing local food movement.

“People do come and say I didn’t know you guys existed.”

Chana
Foods is one of two flour mills on the map. The Chana family’s business
makes stone ground, whole grain flour including corn and soft white
wheat flour that’s grown in Essex County.

By May when the first local food map is available, asparagus should be ready to whet the appetite of local food fans.

Although
some businesses such as wineries and livestock producers are ready to
welcome shoppers, locavores will have to wait until fruits and
vegetables are in season.

Once they are, the map will help people
find pick-your-own farms, fruit stands and even spots offering baked
goods, jams, hayrides, a petting farm and tours.

The map has 52
producers and four agriculture-related businesses including the flour
mills, a cheese company, an abattoir and Essex County’s last dairy. The
federation asked for farm business registration numbers from farms so
it didn’t get resellers of local food but producers.

The $100 charge per producer covered the cost of the map.

The
Essex County Federation of Agriculture is having 20,000 brochures
printed with the map, a listing of farms and businesses and produce
availability.

The information will go on the federation’s website
(www.ecfa.ca) and brochures will be available at participating farms,
in libraries, town halls and Windsor’s tourist information bureaus.

If needed the federation could reprint the brochures next year but isn’t planning on redoing the map until two years from now.

Some locations don’t have Sunday sales and most suggest you call ahead.

Category: The Americas

Leave a Reply