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Support Your Local Farmers – Otsego County

Support Your Local Farmers – Otsego County

This article will cover why it’s important to support your local farmers, how to support your local farmers and small businesses, and I will share local farmers and farm-to-table restaurants located in Otsego County, NY that I have supported and would highly recommend!

Humanely Raised and Sustainable Products

The food choices you make every day have a major impact on the environment, and factory farming in particular takes a significant toll on the health of the planet. Choosing sustainable products and animal foods that were humanely raised helps reduce environmental stress and protect our natural resources. By choosing to purchase more sustainable and humane options, you’re paving the way to create meaningful and essential change within the modern food system.

What are Sustainable Foods?

Sustainable refers to foods produced and consumed within a closed-loop system. This means that any waste that would have been produced goes back into the system to nourish the growth cycle. In Other Words, food should be produced, processed, distributed, and disposed of in ways that:

  • Contribute to thriving local economies and sustainable livelihoods
  • Protect the diversity of both plants and animals and the welfare of farmed and wild species
  • Avoid damaging or wasting natural resources or contributing to climate change
  • Provide social benefits, such as good quality food, safe and healthy products, and educational opportunities.

What are Humanely Raised Foods?

Humanely raised refers to foods produced from animals that are treated kindly, are given comfortable living conditions, and are able to engage in natural behaviors. Products can also be labeled certified humane. Keep in mind that this certification still allows for practices like beak trimming.

Ways to Support the Sustainable and Humane Food Movement

Buy local. Foods that have been produced nearby save resources by not needing to travel long distances – often in a refrigerated compartment.
Try composting. Composting helps close the loop in the food system. Rather than being transported to a landfill and producing harmful greenhouse gases, food scraps nourish the soil.
Eat whole foods. Instead of eating only part of a fruit or vegetable or a particular cut of meat, expand your palate and culinary skills by trying to make use of all edible parts of food. This helps reduce food waste and adds interest to meals.
Limit packaging. Seek out foods with minimal or no packaging as packaging takes energy to produce and decades to fully decompose.
Get to know your farmer. If you consume animal foods, research local farmers that might have what you’re looking for. Make an educated decision by asking them about farming methods and learning about the animals’ living conditions. Some farms might even be open to visitors if you’d like to see it in person.
• Reduce consumption of animal foods. Raising animals for food requires far more input (resources, energy, calories) than the output that is produced. Explore the variety of flavors and textures that plant-based foods have to offer.

Why it’s Important to Buy from Local Farmers

From fresh produce to knowing where your food comes from to meeting the people who grow your food, there are countless reasons to support your local farmers’.

Here are just a few:

  • Fruits and Vegetables are fresh and full of flavor!
  • Eating foods that are in season is better for your health, they taste better, they’re more nutritious, are better for the environment, and will be lower in price vs out of season produce!
  • Supporting a local family, rather than these big corporations!
  • Protecting the environment – do you know how far your food travels to get to your plate? Buying locally saves environmental costs such as transportation and refrigeration which both take a great toll on the environment.
  • Nourish Yourself with clean food – most food from the grocery store is grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and often highly processed, even if it is labeled organic, it’s likely not fresh, and has traveled far to get to those shelves!
  • Variety of colors; purple carrots, purple cauliflower, orange beets, spicy greens, blue potatoes, lions mane mushrooms, duck eggs, and much, much more. 
  • Meeting the people who work hard to feed families, and knowing where your food comes from and how it was grown and raised!
  • Promoting humane treatment of animals. This one is VERY important to me! Getting to know the farmers, maybe even going on a farm tour, and knowing those animals were treated well and live(d) a great life!
  • Helps the local economy – It is much more beneficial for the local community if people were to spend their money at a local farmers market, supporting their neighbors rather than going to Walmart and helping a multi-billion dollar company’s profit margin.
  • Connecting with your community!

How To Support Your Local Farmers This Year

Shop Weekly at Farmers’ Markets/farm stands

There are farmer’s markets around the world, do a search and see where the nearest farmer’s market is to you, and give it a try! Also, many small farms might not advertise, they might be more word-of-mouth, but go introduce yourself and see if they sell meat, produce, or other products. Ditch the grocery store, and check out the farm stand on the way home from the office. Farmers Markets connect the community with farmers and artisans that produce and raise their food.

Join a CSA

CSA stands for “Community-Supported Agriculture”. You sign up for a CSA box with one of your local farmers, which is full of in-season produce, that you pick up or get delivered weekly, bi-weekly, or maybe monthly!

The 607CSA gives you a lot more information about the Otsego County Area!

Support Your Local Farmers - Otsego County

Eat At Local Farm-To-Table Restaurants

Eating at a restaurant that supports local, small-scale farmers creates a full circle. Farm-to-table restaurants contribute to local economies by supporting local farmers, which ensures more revenue for farmers, so farmers can spend more in cultivating their respective operations, which, ultimately, helps the economy of the locales. Both the restaurant and the farmers benefit from the Farm-to-Table. Farm-to-table also helps build relationships between the farmer and their consumers, and a healthy relationship with their food.

Eat Food That’s In Season

Fruits and Veggies lose nutrients as soon as it has been picked, so eating fresh, in-season foods offer more nutrients, and eating food that is in season supports your body’s natural nutritional needs. Foods that are in season are often cheaper too, vs buying them out of season. Eating seasonally also reduces the demand for out-of-season produce which supports more local produce and local farming in our area which means less transportation, less refrigeration, and less of an environmental impact.

buy bulk meat

Buying bulk meat might seem expensive and not everyone can afford this, but in the long run, it is actually much cheaper if you have the freezer space to purchase bulk meat. You can speak to a neighbor farmer, who might have pigs or cows, and discuss purchasing a 1/2 a cow/pig or 1/4 cow/pig or split whole animals with a friend. Do your research, and compare prices per pound, you’ll likely find that buying in bulk is much cheaper!

stock up at u-picks

U-picks are a great way to not only support a local farmer but to also learn more about local produce.  You can enjoy seasonal, fresh fruit, while also stocking up and freezing to enjoy later on, and again, it’s typically more cost-effective picking yourself, buying in bulk, and preserving! It gets you back to nature and you get to experience participating in a harvest, which makes you appreciate the food even more!

spread the word

Encourage people in your life to buy locally or to take part in CSA! Take friends, family, or colleagues to your Saturday Farmers Marker, introduce them to the Farmers, and show them why supporting our Local Farmers is so Important and good for the SOUL!

Support Your Local Farmers - Otsego County
Gluten-Free (Sans Gluten) Macaroons, France 2018

Local Farmers & Family-Owned Businesses – Otsego County, NY

Chicory Creek Farm, Mount Vision, NY

Chicory Creek Farm has a small farm store that is open by appointment. They send out a weekly e-mail for pre-order, and pick up is on Wednesdays! They have Certified Organic produce, pasture-raised pigs, and poultry. We are part of their weekly Wednesday Pick-ups! Get on their mailing list!

GrassLands Farm Store, Laurens, NY

Grasslands Farm Store is a little farm store on County Highway 10, that is open dawn till dusk on the honor system. They have grass-fed organic beef, pasture-raised pigs, and certified organic eggs! This is where we purchase our bulk beef!

Cooperstown Farmers Market, Cooperstown, NY

Voted in the Top 25 Farmers’ Markets Across America! Open Saturdays, year-round, and Tuesdays during the summer months! Find everything you need to enjoy our diverse local bounty from over 30 local producers, and artisans, all located within 50 miles! Find fresh seasonal produce, pasture-raised meats, gluten-free granola, maple syrup, artisan cheeses, grass-fed milk, free-range eggs, flowers, wine, sweet treats, CBD products, wool, and other hand-made clothing, pottery, and other artisan crafts. A great way to meet your local farmers, small businesses, and to get out of the house and enjoy some local music!

Some of the farmers you will find at the Cooperstown Farmers Market: Heller’s Farm, Chesterbury Farms (Mushrooms), Middlefield Orchard, Painted Goat Farm, Rockhill farm, Sharon Springs Granola Company, Weinert’s Elk Creek Farm, Gaia’s Breath Farm, Byebrook Farm, Mill Hollow Maple, Black Willow Farm, Nectar Hill Farms and many more!

Weaver’s Farm Market, Morris, NY

Weaver’s Farm Market is an Amish Market with a 4,000 square foot retail space including local and organic produce, meat, a large selection of local cheeses, baked goods, furniture, and other Amish crafts, along with other dry food items like beans, pasta, chocolate, crackers, canned and jarred foods and more. They grow what they can, while also promoting and selling other locally produced foods.

Support Your Local Farmers - Otsego County

Cooperstown Natural Foods, Cooperstown, NY

Cooperstown Natural Foods is a small family-owned business that carries a full line of organic and natural groceries, and supports many dietary restrictions, carrying many gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options as well as local products including cheese, produce, meat, dairy, and baked goods.

Mill Hollow Maple, New Lisbon, NY

Mill Hollow Maple is a maple farm located in the heart of the Butternut Valley in Otsego County New York. You can find this Certified organic, award-winning Maple Syrup, Maple Cream, Maple Sugar, and Maple Candy at both the Oneonta and Cooperstown Farmers Market, the Cooperstown Natural Foods Store, Weaver’s Farm Market, many other local businesses or you can even order online!  

Black Willow Farm, Cobleskill, NY

Black Willow Farm isn’t actually located in Otsego County, but you will find them at the Cooperstown Farmers Market! They sell pasture-raised pork, poultry, beef, lamb, and they often have other specialty items! Check them out at the Farmers Market!

Oneonta Farmers Market, Oneonta, NY

Open Saturdays year-round, located in the city of the hills! A much smaller, less overwhelming farmers market than Cooperstown, but still a great one to get the feel of a farmers market, and to meet your local farmers!

Nectar Hill Farms, Schenevus, NY

Nectar Hill Farms is a certified organic and certified biodynamic farm that raises grass-fed lamb, beef, and pork, where they sell at The Cooperstown Farmers Market and their store in Cherry Valley. They also have organic produce, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, honey, homemade bread and pesto spreads, and handmade designs for the home and Women/Men apparel.

Support Your Local Farmers - Otsego County
Annecy France, Farmers Market, Septemeber 2018

These are all Local Farmers I use on a regular basis, who I can personally recommend, but if you have favorites located in Otsego County, please comment or send me a message and I will support and add them to my list!

Farm-to-Table Restaurants

We don’t have too many Farm-to-Table restaurants in Otsego County, but we do have some restaurants that have menu options with local food! Here are a few of my favorites!

Origins Cafe, Cooperstown, NY

Origins Cafe, also a greenhouse, called Carefree Gardens, is dedicated to supporting local farms, sharing the best of seasonal flavors, celebrating good, clean, fair food for all! Their greenhouses and gardens offer a beautiful setting for a celebration, brunch, or lunch, or just a night out for one of their weekly community harvest dinners. They have a variety of events, including music, yoga, plant sales, full-moon parties, workshops, and so much more! Typically open in late April through early October!

The Hawkeye Bar & Grill, Cooperstown, NY

The Hawkeye Bar & Grill, located in the Otesaga in Cooperstown, NY, offers fresh, local food With Lake Otsego Views. Open year-round, dine-in or take-out. During the summer months, I recommend making reservations! They partner with the Painted Goat Farm, Mill Hollow Maple, Mulligan Creek Acres, and Chicory Creek Farms.

Promoting Humane Treatment of Animals

Animal welfare is very important to me. I have attempted the vegetarian diet, but find I cannot sustain that and be healthy – my personal experience. That is one of the main reasons I started to go to the Farmers Market, I wanted to connect with the farmers and know that the animal was treated with love and compassion, and lived its best life while on this earth.

Rather than purchasing meat from multi-billion-dollar companies, such as Wal-Mart, Price-Chopper, Hannaford, or other corporations, where that meat likely comes from CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) and Feedlots. CAFO’s can house anywhere from hundreds to millions of animals, and those animals might never see the light of day. Additionally, CAFOs produce huge amounts of animal sewage and other pollutants.

Items in the store could be labeled as “free-range,” but free-range does not always mean that the animal has been in an open area its whole life. It may only mean they were in a restricted area and let out into that open area one time during their life. The same goes for meat labeled Organic in stores, it doesn’t mean the animal was humanly raised.

So knowing and talking to your farmers, and even taking a visit to their farm can help you understand how an animal should be raised.

Humane farms are better for animals, people, and the environment.

New Lisbon, NY | 2019

My Recipes use local ingredients as much as possible!