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"Vegetables aren't just for Summer" by Beth Weick, as published in North Country News, June 2010

Our meals these days are reliably accompanied by a salad of sorts – the variety and quantity of its contents continue to increase as these warmer months descend upon us here at D Acres Organic Farm & Educational Homestead. If there is a season that connotes the flavor of fresh produce, it would be summer, no?

And fortunately, our area is rich with local producers. From a plethora of fruits and vegetables, to eggs, dairy, meat, and baked goods, local farmers provide quite an array of goods to our region. But saying it is not enough. We want to celebrate the diversity of local foods and spread the word. Come find our what we're talking about at the 2010 Pemi-Baker Local Food Guide Launch. It will be held on the Plymouth Common June 12, 11am-1pm. Pick up the 4th edition of the Local Food Guide, meet local farmers, sample their goods, and enjoy the tunes of local musicians.

D Acres began publishing the Local Food Guide in 2007, the beginning steps to cultivating a thriving local food network. Since then, we've expanded the guide each year, now totaling 39 farmers and 23 local advertisers. Thanks to the advertisements of local establishments, a listing in the guide is a free service to area producers. New to 2010, we've also included a map pinpointing local farms, as well as information on summer and winter farmer's markets throughout the Pemi-Baker region.

Why such excitement over a local food guide? Well, for one, we at D Acres are remarkably interested in food. Everyone needs to eat, and the better the food, the better the health and the well-being of both people and land. Local food specifically increases individuals' connection to a region and its landscape, while decreasing dependency on national and international systems of production and distribution. Furthermore, strengthening local food networks is a direct means of providing local income to local people, a means of keeping our money local and investing in our own community. To quote farmer and author Wendell Berry, "without prosperous local economies, the people have no power and the land no voice."

So knowing your farmer is vitally important, and not just in the summer. Eating is a year-round endeavor, and so is buying food. The 2010 Guide can help you do it locally. In addition to listing regional farmers and the goods they produce, the Local Food Guide also lists the times and locations of a variety of seasonal markets.

Be a part of a greener picture in our region! Join us June 12, 11am-1pm, on the Plymouth Common to meet your local farmers. Pick up your copy of the Local Food Guide – a sustainable community starts with your next meal.

Beth Weick is a resident of D Acres Organic Farm & Educational Homestead, a non-profit service organization. She first came to the farm in April 2008 as an intern, and now focuses her work on gardening, tending to the animals, and writing. Learn more about the programs at D Acres by visiting www.dacres.org.

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