By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
The discussion at hand during the April Munch & Learn at Jones Regional Medical Center was enough to get the audience excited for the possibilities in Jones County.
Brittany Bethel, regional foods coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach, spoke out Iowa’s Buy Fresh Buy Local program.
Believe it or not, but there are quite a bit of food producers in Jones County who are part of the program:
• Amber Ridge Farm – Joe and Dee Wagner, Anamosa. Wine grapes, eggs, horseradish and pumpkins.
• Ambleside Farm – Kristina Doll, Onslow. Variety of seasonal produce, specializing in Heirloom tomatoes, raspberries and winter greens. Incorporating organic principles.
• Beal’s Fine Meat and Produce – John Beal, Monticello.
• Country Crumbs – Judy Skay, Monticello. Naturally grown garlic, shallots and herbs can be found at farmers markets and at their farm stand.
• Daly Creek Winery – Jim Langer, Anamosa.
• George Manternach Farm – George Manternach, Monticello. Cucumbers, zucchini, sweet corn, squash, beef and pork can be found at local farmers markets. Also sells to individuals.
• Monk’s Orchard – Doug and Micaela Monk, Monticello.
• Tabor Home Vineyards & Winery – Paul and Martha Tabor, Baldwin.
• Wild Prairies Rose Farm – Rose Rohr, Anamosa. Naturally grown grapes, seasonal produce, herbs and flowers. Can be bought from the farm stand.
Bethel said there are many reasons to buy local. Local foods are fresher and taste better.
You are strengthening the local economy by supporting local growers and farmers.
Fresh food means healthier lives. Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake is a healthy move.
With buying local, you also know where your food is coming from.
To help support the Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign, get to know the area farmers who raise the food.
Shop at area farmers markets. Monticello’s regular farmers market is held every Wednesday and Saturday in the middle school parking lot, along Main Street. Farmers markets have the freshest foods.
Join a CSA. This is Community Supported Agriculture, where you can become a partner with a local farmer, sharing in the risk and the bounty of their produce.
Encourage local grocery stores and restaurants to look into selling locally produced products.
Start growing your own in a garden in your backyard or join a community garden.
Cook a meal once or twice a week using local foods. Share your recipes with producers.
Bethel said statistics show that Iowans spend $8 billion on food a year! If you buy local, you’re keeping some of that money in your local community, many times over. About 10 percent of the food purchased in Iowa is produced locally. Bethel said this is actually a decent amount, but would like to see it higher yet.
Buying local, produces local jobs. In fact just over 4,000 jobs could be created in Iowa if we all bought locally produced food.
“There’s an economic impact to producing and selling locally,” stressed Bethel.
With a few farmers markets in Jones County, the State of Iowa ranks second in the nation with 226 total farmers markets.
According to ISU Extension and Outreach, “When you buy local food, you are voting with your food dollar. This ensures that family farms in this community will continue to thrive and that healthy, flavorful, plentiful food will be available for future generations.”
To learn more about the Buy Fresh Buy Local program, contact Bethel at