Lots of people have asked me recently where and how to find local food here in Ithaca and Tompkins County. Here are some suggestions:
Buy at the farmers market. The Ithaca Farmer's Market is an obvious choice, but there are lots of other markets, including: Tues/Thurs at Dewitt Park, a regular market at the Southside Community Center, and others in Brooktondale, Trumansburg, Caroline, and more. Ithaca's Food Web will post a list when the season starts.
Buy through a CSA. A CSA allows you to pay upfront for a whole season of veggies (and sometimes fruit, meat, and dairy) and get a box of veggies from the farm every week. Cornell Cooperative Extension has a Local Food Guide to help you find a CSA that's right for you. Also, scroll down right here on this blog to see a few farms listed. (CSA stands for "community supported agriculture.")
Buy through a delivery service, like Garden Gate. Garden Gate is a small online retailer that sells, stocks, and delivers local produce. Their delivery area includes: Ithaca, Ellis Hollow, Trumansburg (1st and 3rd Tuesdays), West Hill, Slaterville, Brooktondale and Lansing (2nd and 4th Tuesdays).
Buy at Greenstar, Wegmans, or another grocer that stocks local food. The tricky thing here is that "local" is defined differently by different stores, so be aware that "local" could mean, the USA, the northeast, NYS, or the Finger Lakes region.
Grow your own. Some local food proponents criticize the emphasis on consumerism, expense, and trendiness in the local food movement. To learn how to grow your own food, start with the gardening resources and food resources at Cornell Cooperative Extension - Tompkins County.
And... coming soon... a local group, IthaCan, recently won a NE SARE grant to develop an online tool for buying local produce in bulk, direct from farmers, right here in the Finger Lakes. The system should be up and running by June, so keep your eyes out for more details.*
*Full disclosure: yours truly is working on this project.