Get to know your food—no label reading required
Local growing season is here! In the Lake Simcoe watershed, visitors and residents alike are very fortunate to have access to many local farms. With the number of farms in the area comes the ability to speak directly with the farmer who produced the food you are purchasing, and to learn more about his or her farming and environmentally-beneficial practices. All this can be accomplished without the need to read any labels or to understand the food-related regulations of other jurisdictions.
Food purchasing decisions are very personal and are made based upon a number of factors, but here are some things to consider:
- Cooking from scratch can decrease food costs while at the same time increase the nutritional value of your meals
- If you reduce meat consumption one or more days a week, you can divert the money saved to purchase higher quality meat for the remainder of the week (i.e. from a local sustainable farmer)
- Compare the value of what you get when you spend on fresh local ingredients to the value of pre-packaged meals
- The taste of freshly harvested food cannot be beat
The price premium you may pay for local or local/organic foods are an investment in:
- Keeping food production capability in your local area
- Supporting farmers who invest in preserving local soil quality (for now and for future generations)
- Contributing to the economic health of your local economy
- Reducing the hidden importation of water resources from other communities
Evaluating where each individual food item was produced will give you an idea of the travel-related footprint of your purchase, but certainly buying recently-harvested food directly from the farmer has a low transportation footprint.
Keep reading to learn about the environmentally-beneficial practices of some of the farmers in the Lake Simcoe watershed.
- Avalon Orchards: (part of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Environmental Farm program and certified organic according to Canadian and U.S. standards) For over 20 years, Avalon Orchards of Innisfil has been dedicated to supporting organic agriculture. Not only do the owners operate a certified organic apple orchard, but they are also dedicated to sharing their knowledge about organic farming with others. Read More.
- Barrie Hill Farms: (part of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Environmental Farm program) Want to know more about how your food is produced? Start by getting to know your local farmers. Barrie Hill Farms is a second generation farm that offers a wide range of fruits and vegetables that are available for purchase from their on-farm market. Using technology, Barrie Hill Farms is run as efficiently as possible. Read more.
- Cookstown Greens: (part of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Environmental Farm program, certified organic by ProCert) There are many reasons why it is important to support local food producers, ranging from exceptional taste, freshness of produce, shorter transportation routes, local economic stimulus, and protection and stewardship of local land. Read more.
- Dickey Bee Honey: When the decision was made to build a new Dickey Bee Honey teaching facility in Innisfil, both the environmental mission of the business and the bottom line were considered. Energy efficiency was top-of-mind during the initial construction and subsequent expansion. Read more.
- Dickey Bee Honey: During a trip to Dickey Bee Honey farm in Cookstown, not only can you purchase delicious honey-based products, but you can learn how valuable the honey bee is, how to protect it, and –if you are so inclined—how to become a beekeeper. Read more.
- Dingo Farms: (part of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Environmental Farm program) At Dingo Farms humane care of the animals is paramount, as is proper care of the land and environment. This Bradford-local farm sells naturally-raised beef, pork, lamb and seasonal poultry. Read more.
- Nicholyn Farms: Whether you are on your way to or from the cottage, local to the area or just visiting, do not miss Nicholyn Farms in Phelpston. A part of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Environmental Farm program, Nicholyn’s commitment to environmentally-sustainable practices is clearly outlined on their website. Read more.
- Sharon Creek Farm: (part of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Environmental Farm program, certified organic by ProCert) Sharon Creek Farm sits in an unassuming spot atop the Nokiida Trail in the Holland Valley. This certified organic, environmentally-minded farm provides consumers in York Region nearby access to fresh, locally-grown, certified organic produce, eggs, seasonal fruits and veggies, and even organic meat Read more.