I originally wrote the local resources page to support an Eat Local Challenge for the winter. It did not reflect all my local sources for food, just those used to prepare a meal with ingredients produced no more than 150 miles from my home. We were then to blog about it. Over 100 participants started the challenge. About a third of us still are going at it after fifteen weeks.
That is why there are sources on the page that fall far outside of West Howard County, and even MD. Eating locally is somewhat easy but boring in the winter, except for the fact that Maryland does not yet produce wheat flours, nor will they ever produce olive oils, citrus and spices. Those exceptions to the challenge were stated at the start. Interestingly, enough, I found that Union Mills at the Shriver Homestead north of Westminster still grinds corn meal, buckwheat, rye and wheat flours. Here is the response I received from them about their sources.
Buckwheat comes from York County.
Corn is mostly Carroll county.
Roasted corn from Perry County
Hard wheat is from a mill in Lancaster County; I’m not sure where they get it.
Rye is Carroll county.
White Rice from the grocery store.
Ivan Lufriu, mill operator
Every time I found a source for meats, dairy, produce, and locally produced items, if I used them in the Challenge, I documented them.
I am now in the process of expanding that page to include local items year round, and the vendors at our local farmer’s markets.
When I first started this challenge, I thought it would be difficult, not knowing how many sources of food around here produce items all winter. High tunnels, greenhouses, hydroponic growing, all have opened up as consumers want local, fresh food, not shipped in from China or New Zealand or South America.
Having a dialogue with the mill operator about the source of his grains connects me to where my food comes from. Watching the cows graze at South Mountain, or seeing the vegetables grow in a farmer’s field is more satisfying to me than reading a twist tie label that says “produced in Mexico” or wherever.
A little more effort, maybe, and yes, more expensive sometimes, but worth it to me.
As for looking yourself for what is out there, I found these two websites to be invaluable.