I received this email last week:
My manager just watched Food, Inc the other day and now wants to eat grass fed beef and antibiotic free chickens and all that slow foodie stuff. I can’t think of many resources off the top of my head, do you have a list of information for our area (like the slow food webpage) that I could pass along to get him started?
I am sure there are other people who have watched Food Inc. or read one of Michael Pollan‘s books who are interested in making some changes to their diet and/or food sourcing as a result but are not sure where to start. I thought it would be helpful to put together a list of places to shop, eat at and to get more information from. The list will obviously be Central Ohio centric, but if you live elsewhere it might still give you some ideas. I’m sure that the list won’t be comprehensive, so please feel free to add other suggestions in the comments.
One way to start is by reading more about the subject and if you haven’t read any Michael Pollan I highly recommend ‘In Defense of Food‘. I am currently reading Mark Bittman’s Food Matters:a Guide to Conscious Eating. Bittman covers a lot of the same ground as Pollan but his is more of a personal account talking about how he changed his own diet. Where Pollan gives the advice ‘eat food, not too much, mostly plants’, Bittman goes into much greater depth giving a month of meal plans and recipes. Bittman calls his approach to food sane eating and urges readers to cook and to eat like food matters.
Useful websites and blogs:
Local Harvest Search by location for farmers markets, CSAs* and other local suppliers of organic foods. You can also shop online for things you can’t find locally. Lists food events, blogs and other resources.
Restaurant Widow List of Central Ohio Farmers Markets and CSAs*. Also has information on local restaurants and farmers market reports.
Indie Columbus has an ongoing series on sane eating, discussing how some local restaurants match up.
Columbus Foodie Lots of restaurants reviews, One Local Summer recipes and weekly farmers market reports.
Green Leanings Blogs about ‘One Local Summer’ – eating locally in Central Ohio.
CMH Gourmand – restaurant reviews and local food events and vendors.
*CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Buying directly from a farmer in the form of a subscription. You get a weekly share of their produce during the growing season.
Organizations you might want to join:
OEFFA (Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association). Promotes sustainable, ecological and healthful food systems. Lots of online resources, Good Earth Guide (searchable database of farms and products), farms tours,
Slow Food Columbus Active local chapter of an international organization. Meet other people interested in good, clean and fair food. Lots of food related events including dinners, monthly wine tastings and taste education events.
Local Matters Resources for finding local food and several great projects including, Local Food to Schools, Farm to Fork and Urban Agriculture. Coming soon is Fresh Connect a Central Ohio local food guide including restaurants, markets, CSAs and grocers.
Great places to buy food
Farmers Markets (Clintonville, Worthington, North Market and other locations). Usually held weekly.
North Market – home of the Greener Grocer, Blues Creek Meats, North Market Poultry and Game, Jeni’s Ice Creams and other local food vendors.
Clintonville Community Market – member owned natural foods neighborhood grocery store. Stocks a lot of local foods.
Hills Market – One of the best ranges of local foods and also hosts a lot of food events including dinners, tastings, meet the farmer etc
Weilands Gourmet Market. 3600 Indianola Ave.
Wholefoods (2 Locations: Lane Ave & Dublin Granville Rd.) Not as local centric but a lot of eco-friendly and ethical food choices.
You can also try to persuade your grocery store to stock more locally produced foods. Giant Eagle now stocks Snowville Creamery milk and if enough people ask for a product then they may respond to consumer demand.
People to buy food from.
Blues Creek Farm Meats – one of the best suppliers for local grass fed meat.
2 Silos – pasture raised eggs, also has a meat CSA. Available at the Greener Grocer.
Snowville Creamery – Un-homogenized and minimally pasteurized Milk from Pomeroy Ohio.
The Greener Grocer – in the North Market. Supports local farmers and offers a weekly market bag
Hartlzer’s Dairy – Milk and Ice Cream from Wooster Ohio.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – Nationally acclaimed but locally made ice cream. Seasonal flavors based on local ingredients such as strawberry buttermilk.
Blue Jacket Dairy – fantastic locally made cheeses, sold at farmers markets and locally grocery stores.
Wayward Seed Farm – CSA and active at several farmers markets.
Restaurants to Eat at:
These are restaurants that make an exceptional effort to source local and seasonal ingredients.
Alana’s – North of Campus
The Northstar Cafe Short North and Bechwold
The Refectory – Bethel Road
Basi Italia – Victorian Village
Rigsby’s Kitchen – Short North
Blackcreek Bistro – Olde Towne East
Worthington Inn – Worthington
Cafe Bella – Clintonville
Dragonfly & On the Fly – South of Campus
L’Antibes – Short North
Dine Originals is a group of over 40 independent restaurants in the Columbus area. Their next restaurant week is September 7th-13th. It is a great opportunity to sample many of the restaurants listed above.
Other things to think about are starting a garden. Columbus Underground has been featuring some local gardens, including Columbus Foodie’s impressive vegetable garden. If you don’t have space for your own garden you can get involved in a community garden. Here is a local blog about community gardening. Or if you want to start your own here is the Get Green Columbus manual on community gardening. The American Community Gardening Association is headquartered in Columbus.
Please let me know what other great local food vendors, organizations and markets you have found and would recommend.
August 11, 2009
hi- i want to let you know how impressed i am with the comprehensive list you put together. buying and eating local foods from sustainable farms is very important to me and it has taken me a couple years to discover the resources you sited. i have a young daughter and i don’t want her to eat meat full of hormones and vegetables covered in chemicals.
and i hadn’t heard about the local matters site before. i’m excited to follow their work in central ohio.
August 12, 2009
Thanks I needed a list of great local sources.
August 21, 2009
I am dying to see Food Inc, but it’s not playing within an hour’s drive of us. How does it compare to King Corn? Safe travels this weekend, hope to chat with you soon!
August 21, 2009
It is definitely slicker than King Corn. It covers some of the same material and some different stuff. Still worth seeing even if you have seen King Corn.
September 6, 2009
Raisin Rack on 2545 Schrock Road is a great place to buy local/ethical food.
September 6, 2009
Thanks. I have heard of Raisin Rack but I have not been there.
September 16, 2009
Frijolito Farm is an urban farm providing free range, antibiotic-free chicken and eggs direct to consumers. We are located between Columbus and Gahanna. We offer chicken and egg CSA and limited veggie CSA in the summer season. Visit us at Clintonville Farmers Market or our website.
May 18, 2010
I like this post a lot. As a 100% Grass Fed Beef Farmer in Central Ohio (I sell at the Worthington Farmers Market), I feel I should mention that Blues Creek Farm at the North Market, while they are wonderful people and do a great job, are absolutely NOT selling Grass Fed Beef. Their motto is, “Our animals get all the grass they want, all the grain they want.” My animals do not know what grain is. Not to be too fussy about this, but the differences, for the animal as well as for the consumer, are massive. Thank you, John Wiley.
May 19, 2010
Thank you for your comment and clarification. I think there is a spectrum of ‘grass fed’ which is confusing for consumers. I enjoyed reading your blog post about Worthington Farmers market and I hope I will have an opportunity to try your beef sometime.