Harmonious Homestead
Connecting Farms & Families In Central Ohio since 2010


News, recipes, and stories from food systems work 

Where Can You Get Real Food?

Wow! How do I follow up my most viewed, most commented, most retweeted post?! I am so appreciative of the interest in real food*. I am glad to be in community with people who support and practice choosing sustainable foodstuffs.

Slaughtering your own animals is not practical for most people, not even us, on a regular basis. So where are the best places to purchase real food?

tomato harvest october 2009

1) Your Backyard - growing your own fruits and vegetables is easily the most local, delicious, and cheapest way to pack your meals with fresh ingredients. My Grow Your Garden series gives tips about how to start or expand backyard gardens. If you don't have space for a backyard garden, search for a community garden plot.

2) Direct from the Farmer - Local farmers are the best source of what you might not be able to grow yourself. Sustainable farmers are excited to share their raw milk, small batch cheeses, free ranged meat, vegetable CSA shares, and more. Find them at a farmer's market (see below) or Local Harvest. Ask around at work and in the neighborhood, as many people know a small farmer or know someone who does.

shopping the wayward seed stand at north market

3) Farmer's Market - Our favorite markets are full of stands directly representing individual farms. Some offer CSA pickups. Producers are eager to answer your questions about the variety, farming practices, and cooking use of their produce. Many will take time to chat with you at length, forming friendships and partnerships in the food revolution.

4) Local Grocery - An independent grocer, like our local favorites Weiland's and The Hills, is more adaptable to consumer desires than a chain. If your grocery doesn't carry products you want, request that they stock seasonal produce from local farms. Ask more than once and be prepared to help source the ingredients you desire.

5) Chain Grocery - Even in a chain, you can find real food if you search it out. Read labels and choose seasonal items from as close to your location as possible. Select whole ingredients to make foods from scratch. When buying processed food, read carefully and question contents whose names you can't pronounce or understand as foodstuffs. Local managers at your grocery are sometimes willing and able to take special requests. It never hurts to ask for seasonal and local food.

Where do you shop for food?

*Real food is just another buzz word among 'organic', 'local', 'seasonal', 'sustainable', etc. What I mean in this article is food you can source to a specific producer; whole ingredients that are free from unnecessary additives and processing.