- Vegetables: Farmers' Market. I started talking to the main vegetable vendor at our local Farmers' Market, as a precursor to stocking up. When I realized they sold from their home garden, I looked her up in the phone book, called, and set an appointment to come pick up my produce. I visited their farm twice - picking up carrots, potatoes, onions, cabbage, and green peppers. She even gave me a liter of honey "because you've been such good customers" the last time I was there. This will be my root cellar back-up in years to come, after we've drained our garden's supply.
- Beef: Small family farm in the area. My in-laws are neighbors to the farm's grand-daddy (he ran it himself before he retired and moved "to town").
- Ham: Small family farm in the area. Ditto. The ham we ate for our Early Christmas dinner was part of a pig that they bought earlier this year.
- Turkey: Family farm, via networking. A lady I know through a Midwifery Advocacy group sent an email letting the group know that her brother had turkeys available for Thanksgiving. I pounced on that one!
- Real milk: Area dairy, with jersey cows. The same lady from the Midwifery Advocacy group referred me to them, after I inquired about area milk sources. I am still in the investigative process on this one.
The prominent pattern in this list: networking. Going to Farmers' Markets and talking to the vendors is probably the most important. When I lived in Minneapolis, I took it for granted - there were so many vendors that I didn't even bother talking to them much. But as I shift in my paradigm of what food is, and where I want to get it, mixed with our current locale, I can't afford NOT to network with them.
This is something Barbara Kingsolver advocates in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle as well. Get to know the vendors at your Farmers' Market. Buy from them. But more so, why not stock up for the winter? If you have a chilled attic space or a cool basement space, you can do it. [Read Root Cellaring by the Bubels] If you don't have either of those options, invest in a freezer. These points were a revelation in my mind (granted, I read them in conjunction with moving to a house with a root cellar, glory be). Yes! Why not?! It tastes better, you are supporting a local economy, bucking the factory-food system, and more than likely, lessening the chemical-load in your system. It is a win-win-win situation.
Online, an excellent resource is Local Harvest. You can enter your zip code on this site and get an entire list of local growers and farms. Canadian provinces are included.