Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Farm Focus: Longview Farm & Market

What - A - Gem!
If you know me personally, you know that I talk, or dream really, at length about my vision for our country: where you can identify the farm your milk came from, you know your farmer by name, where fruits and vegetables and herbs and animals are left to grow at their natural pace to their natural size eating their natural diet and therefore don't pollute our bodies when we eat them, where you know what you are feeding your body because you made it, or you can name who made it, and because you, or they, can not only pronounce  but produce every ingredient.I was born in the 1980's, so this, sadly, is a dream. But for many who still call our country home, this is not a dream, but a description of how life once was, not all that long ago.

When I visit places like Longview Farm & Market, I feel extremely hopeful that my dream will become reality in my lifetime. Longview and its team have maintained what it has always meant to farm
- to care, to tend, to grow - to provide high quality, nutrient dense, naturally and sustainably grown foods. 

Longview Farm, located in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, is part of a community of farm hubs operated by Greener Partners, a non-profit organization with a mission of connecting communities through food, farms and education.  Longview Farm and Market does just that. The market itself offers everything from local organic produce, beans, rice, nuts and flours, to local dairy, including dips and yogurts and cheeses, as well as a wonderful meat selection of turkey, chicken, beef - they even had a beautiful nitrite-free turkey bacon (see local and organic doesn't mean sacrificing your indulgences!). In addition to stocking all of your staple food items, they also offer local coffee, pastries, bath products and even dog treats (unfortunately, these did have some guar gum and other additives that I avoid, so I did not pick any up for my pup). What I really appreciate though is that they make sure you know where your products are from, giving credit to the area's other organic producers.

Longview is not just a market, though - oh, no! It is much, much more. They are a fully functioning farm and center for education. They also manage a Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) Program, participation in which creates a commitment between a community and its farmers wherein community members purchase a share, for a season or a year, during which time they are guaranteed fresh local produce and the farmer is guaranteed demand for his harvest. They have a full calendar of events like Blueberry Pancake Breakfasts, Farm Tours, Raw Food Information and Demonstration Session, Weeding, Tiny Tillers story time on the farm for the kids, and the list goes on. For example, during my visit, "Big Dutt" was outside with his grill making pulled pork sandwiches that could be enjoyed while roaming the fields or hanging out with friends and family around a picnic table. 

Longview Farm & Market is, as I began my post saying, a true gem. If you are from the Greater Philadelphia area, or find yourself passing through, I strongly encourage you to pay them a visit. Bring your family or friends for an afternoon of blueberry picking and good company or come alone and find peace of mind in the beauty of both Longview's setting and mission.

There is a lot to be said for our farmers who choose preserving the principles of nature and providing high quality non-toxic products over government subsidies and large-scale chemical farming. In the end, organic farms, not factory farms, will be the ones to really feed our world.

Support your local organic farmers  and their efforts in any way you can. To find those near you, see my post here.

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