At the Wedge, we cultivate relationships with local growers and producers in order to support local farmers. We think that guarantees the freshest, highest quality products for our members and shoppers, too. These partnerships create viable markets for local products, while giving co-op shoppers a convenient and close connection to fresh, delicious food of the highest quality.
Eating locally is about more than the freshest, maybe even luxurious food. It is about the strength of rural communities and farm families. Most of all it's about sharing the realities of the seasons and the weather with the people who grow our precious local food.
Remember August, 2007. Just one week into the Eat Local Challege, torrential rain fell on Southeastern Minnesota and Southwestern Wisconsin for almost twenty-four hours, followed by tornado-strength winds. Within days, co-ops and other organizations led a fund-raising effort called Sow the Seeds. The outpouring of concern and generosity from consumers, co-ops, businesses, churches and foundations contributed to saving twenty farms. CSA members accepted smaller boxes of produce that summer, understanding that this was a risk of farming that they shared by joining the CSA.
That is commitment.
This year is not so different, except that instead of one night of deluge we've had months of bad weather. Planting was delayed by the cold, long spring or early attempts at planting were lost to frost. Then the rains and winds came, not measured in feet at a time, but in enough inches and often enough to saturate the soil and leave crops stranded in mud and standing water. Extreme heat caused greens to bolt. Winds knocked over the corn and hail tore the basil leaves.
This year it's a quieter crisis than in 07. Pack sheds are not very full and the food that is being harvested is not as pretty as we're used to getting.
This year more than ever, we need to ante up and buy what does make it to the stores, even it if is not the most gorgeous broccoli or carrot you ever saw. Show our farmers that you stand with them and choose local product like your community depends on it. It does.