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Here Magazine: From Apple Butter to Zucchini

Le vendredi, août 26 2011

Read whole article by Victoria Handysides from Here Magazine
Published Thursday August 25th, 2011

A new website guides consumers to a local bounty of good food: From apple butter to zucchini

Looking for a meal grown close to home? Look no further than your web browser, your meal ticket to eating really, REALLY local.

According to Really Local Harvest spokeswoman Nicole Briand, a wide selection of different foods are available right here in New Brunswick, thanks to the hard work of local farmers.

Really Local Harvest is the Hub City’s one-stop shop for all that’s best in the region’s 100-mile diet, started by a passionate group of producers who agree that an area’s local food system is built on strength in numbers.

“It’s about more credibility and visibility,” Really Local Harvest spokeswoman Nicole Briand said.
The co-op is for consumers looking for ethical, diverse foods available outside big box grocery stores. All the foods produced by Really Local Harvest really are local – within one hour of Moncton. About 30 farms from Rogersville to Memramcook are part of the co-operative, sharing resources, labour and knowledge.

The co-operative has been around for about 10 years, but is attempting to increase its visibility and reach. Recently, the new Really Local Harvest website was launched and the group set up a new booth at the Dieppe Market. This year, they’re focusing on producers’ relationships with consumers, and are making as many resources as possible available to both groups.

Similar co-ops have been popping up and growing across the province in recent years, like ACORN (Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network) or the Conservation Council of New Brunswick’s Buy Local NB initiative. In an effort to provide greater access to producers, the latter Fredericton-based non-profit operates a provincial foods directory.

Working with other small-scale farmers is vital for survival in the industry today, Briand says. With competition from massive-scale overseas food producers, it’s difficult for family farms to compete solo. Eating local may cost more at checkout, but consumers “pay the price in the long-term for imported food,” Briand says.

“In Canada, we have the strictest regulations in the world regarding what we put on our produce…there are going to be health issues for a lot of people who eat food from elsewhere with a lot of chemicals.” Many consumers, Briand says, carry the false belief that eating local means eating a limited variety of available fruits and vegetables. In reality, Southeastern New Brunswick boasts growing conditions suitable for a wide range of foods, she said, referencing an area farm with U-pick gooseberries, elderberries, raspberries, black currant and rhubarb.
“You name it, we’ve got it,” Briand said.

Really Local Harvest’s website offers consumers a harvest calendar, with a massive list of products and produce – from apple butter to zucchinis – and the months in which they are available. The site’s database is simple and quick – consumers choose the food they’re seeking from a drop-down list. Once it’s selected, a list of farmers who produce or carry the food is returned.

Additionally, the site lists upcoming events, like U-pick starts at area farms, open houses, seminars and festivals.
“We don’t want to become like another country that’s importing more than it’s exporting. We have so much here,” Briand said.
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@To check out the co-operative and a list of producers near you, visit www.recoltedecheznous.com.

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