Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fresh, Local Foods for Residents in Need

I have written before about a local online food co-op here in Virginia, Coastal Farms. How the co-op works is that every six months, members pay a $75.00 administrative fee. Then, every week, there is a window open when members can order fresh produce directly from regional farmers. The ordering window is usually from 6 PM Friday night until 10 PM Monday night.

The selections are fantastic: pasture-raised meats, local seafood, local dairy products, prepared heat-and-eat meals made with local foods for busy families, honey, hand-made soaps, local free-range eggs, and nuts and produce. The order is paid for in advance through PayPal. There are drop-off points all over the region. You select the point that is most convenient for you. Then you pick up your order every Thursday at your drop-off point between 4 and 6 PM.

The newest drop-off point is the one closest to me: the Cutting Edge Cafe.Don and I hadn't even realized this fantastic little restaurant existed until it became our drop-off point. We've tried it since then, and the food is reasonably priced and delicious. We will definitely be going back.

Recently I ordered dried figs, hydroponically-grown lettuce and arugula, two different varieties of Virginia-grown apples from the western part of the state, dark-chocolate-covered peanut butter truffles for my birthday (made with goat's milk, believe it or not!), and two different pies for Thanksgiving: apple and sweet-potato. The latter has a pecan topping that looks really good.

I also ordered fresh produce for the region's needy through a new program: Pounds of Plenty. The way it works is this: co-op members can order additional produce from local farmers to be delivered directly to the Food Bank in Norfolk on Thursdays. So far I've ordered fresh kale, a salad mix, collards, and radishes.

It feels goodto supply a variety of fresh, local, vitamin-rich produce to residents who need it the most, and to help our region's small farmers at the same time.

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