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"The flavors of Summer" by Beth Weick, as published in North Country News, May 2011

We have finally finished off our last meal of potatoes, had our final round of baked squash, and are savoring the last of our carrot stick crunches. Salad has replaced sauerkraut, and shiitakes are now flavoring our foraged greens. We are on the cusp of the season of fresh produce. Oh the flavors, the lushness, the beauty of summer! Fleeting and fantastic, these are the months to savor the richness of local products.

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. And on June 4th, join us to celebrate this remarkable selection at the 2011 Pemi-Baker Local Food Fare. Held at Prospect Hall on the Plymouth State University Campus, 10am-3pm, this community event will be the season's foremost opportunity to meet area farmers and sample some of their tastiest morsels.

And not only that, the crew at D Acres will be handing out the fifth edition of the Pemi-Baker Local Goods Guide. D Acres began publishing a 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 42 farmers. New to 2011, we've included 31 local crafters, artisans, and pre-loved/second-hand retail shops. The guide also includes a map pinpointing farms, studios, galleries, and shops listed in the publication, as well as information on summer and winter farmer's markets throughout the Pemi-Baker region. Stop by the Local Food Fare June 4th to pick-up your free copy!

Why such excitement over local foods? 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 investing our money within 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. Do your part to strengthen our community! Join us June 4, 10am-3pm, at PSU's Prospect Hall and meet your local farmers (admission $3-10 sliding scale). Pick up your copy of the Local Goods Guide – a sustainable community starts with your next meal.

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