August 7-13 is Ohio Local Foods Week. Make a commitment to buy local foods and eat local foods during this week. Get familiar with the diversity and bounty of food produced in Wayne and surrounding counties. Take some time to have a conversation with a farmer and learn more about what it takes to produce the food we eat. Here are several facts about Ohio agriculture and local food production that you may not realize:
- Agriculture is Ohio’s number one industry contributing jobs for one in seven Ohioans, and more than $107 billion to the state's economy. (ohioproud.org)
- Ohio offers a unique proximity of metropolitan and micropolitan areas, linking rural and urban consumers, growers and communities to food produced on small, medium and large-scale family-owned farms.
- Ohio ranks in the top ten states for direct sales to consumers represented by a wide variety of food products including but not limited to eggs, milk, cheese, honey, maple syrup, beverages, bread and other artisan products, fresh, frozen canned and dried vegetables, fruits and meats. (USDA Ag Census, 2012.)
Looking for some ideas to celebrate local foods week? Here are some thoughts on places to visit. This is by no means an exhaustive or exclusive list, just something to get you started:
For a glimpse of the variety of fresh locally grown vegetables and fruits, visit one of the nearby produce auctions:
- The Mount Hope Farmers Produce Auction is located at 8076 OH -241 just outside of Mount Hope. Currently there are auctions at 1:00 pm every Monday and at 10:00 am every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
- The County Line Produce Auction is located at 11701 Jeffrey Road, West Salem. Auctions are at 4:00 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays and a Thursday auction starts at 1:30 pm.
Of course, our area also has an abundance of on-farm markets, too many to list in this column. Just go driving down some of our county roads and you are bound to come across a farm market where you can buy locally grown produce and fruit. An example of a farm produce market that I like is Yoder Acres Produce at the intersection of Fredericksburg and East Messner roads. If you are looking for in-season fruit some farm market suggestions include Moreland Fruit Farm, Maurers Farm Market, Bauman Orchard and Rittman Orchard. For a farmers market experience, check out the Downtown Wooster Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8 am to noon. Another location that is all about local foods and supporting local farmers is Local Roots Market and Café located at 140 S. Walnut Street in Wooster.
If locally sourced meats hold an interest for you, our area is privileged to have local meat processing and sales. Some shops to check out include:
- Whitefeather Meats at 14079 Cleveland Rd, Creston
- Canaan Meats at 11970 Canaan Rd, Creston
- Shreve Custom Meats at 200 McConkey Street, Shreve
- Marshallville Meats at 50 E. Market Street, Marshallville
- 3-D Meats, at 14740 Lincoln Way East, Dalton
These are but a sampling of some of the ways to experience the bounty of food produced locally, and I have not even gotten into honey and bees or the dairy products that are produced locally and can be commonly found on grocery shelves and stores. The point is, we have a lot to celebrate here in the Wayne County area when it comes to agriculture in general and local food production in particular. I hope you take some time this week to make a meal of local food and appreciate the hands that made it possible.