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The Food Page

    QUICK TIPS - CONSUMERS INTERESTED IN ORDERING DIRECT
  1. Have an idea about what you want. If you are ordering meat, get an idea about how much you might use in a month for instance and which cuts you prefer.
  2. If you need assistance in preparing the food, ask the farmer. Most often, they have recipes they'd love to share that are quick and easy. Farmers are busy people too.
  3. If you need help in deciding how you want an animal cut up and processed for instance, ask the locker or farmer what types of products they recommend. Many lockers have specialty items like Polish sausage, beef sticks, ham or hot dogs. Often they have ethnic favorites or something that is their own special recipe. Think about how many pork chops or steaks you'd like in a package. If you have a family of five, you'll have larger packages made up than if there are two or three of you at home.
  4. Ask farmers how they raise the food or products they are selling. Are the animals raised drug free? Were they finished on grain or grass? Were pesticides used on your produce? If yes, which ones?
  5. Buying from a farmer is not like a drive-thru window. It takes a little more time, but developing the relationship with your food and the folks raising it is worth every moment�and it is a legacy you will hopefully pass on to your children.
  6. Take time to enjoy the food. Don't think of eating as something you have to rush through before you go here or there. Make it an experience. Choose recipes young children can help out with � cracking farm fresh eggs into a bowl for cookies, sprinkling pepper on their hamburgers or setting the table.
  7. Make it a point to eat together as a family as much as possible. Sitting down at a table together and breaking bread is one of the wonderful experiences of food and family, so don't rush it. Farm fresh food is raised to be enjoyed and experienced in a healthy way.
  8. Spend time at a local farmers market. It's a great place to meet farmers, see wonderful variety in food sources and learn more about the bounty of the region.
  9. Cheap food is not always good food. Americans have never been hungry in mass except perhaps during the Great Depression, so we often don't appreciate where food comes from and the value of good, safe food in our diets. Quality, locally grown food, raised in a healthy way can be a boost to your personal health, so don't expect it to be cookie cutter-style or discount store cheap. Family farmers take extra care to raise their food in ways that consumers find more appealing � organic, grassfed, drug free etc. � but there are costs of time and labor involved in these methods and the farmers must make a living too. So go for good food, not necessarily cheap food.
  10. Decide to choose a colorful diet. When it is locally raised, food of color is most healthful. Deep green beans, red radishes, purple plums, orange carrots. Go for variety. Go for colorful menus.
  11. Remember that purchasing locally grown food raised with care by a farm family you know and trust is one of the best things you can do to provide a safe, healthful diet for your family and support rural America at the same time.
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