Old Brooklyn Mustardhails from the Old Brooklyn neighborhood in Cleveland, OH. Its parent-company, Old Brooklyn Cheese Co. started in 2016, and launched their mustard line in 2018 to accompany the cheese boards sold in the shop. As their popularity grew, cheesemaker and owner Michael Januska and his team developed a shelf-stable line of mustards which are now packaged and sold as a stand-alone product. Since then, they have won several culinary awards, the most recent being a win in the 2022 International Flavor Awards.
New Producer Spotlight: Le Cracker
Le Cracker, a 100% whole-grain sourdough cracker company also hailing from Cleveland, OH, is owned and operated by Kari Moore. A passionate advocate for local food and farms, Moore helped create Northeast Ohio Foodshed, and Farm Share Ohio, one of the region’s earliest CSA groups. She started up Le Cracker in 2017 after years of at-home cracker baking. True to her love for local, she uses Ohio-grown rye and spelt grains that are stone-milled about an hour south in Wayne County, OH.
Food for Thought: How YOU Can Help Build Our Local Food Economy
(it’s a bit of a long read, but worth your time!!)
This week, Marti and Livia attended the Erie Food Summit: Rooted in Resilience event hosted by the the Erie Food Policy Advisory Council (Erie FPAC) and the Erie County Department of Health. Among topics discussed were Erie County’s 24 food deserts–1 of them being in Edinboro– and what can be done to offer more access to fresh produce and healthy food throughout the county. For those unfamiliar with the term “food desert,” according to the USDA, they are “an urban tract in which 500 persons and/or at least 33 percent of the population lives more than 1 mile from a supermarket or large grocery and have no vehicle access; or at least 500 people and/or 33% of the population live more than 10 miles from the nearest supermarket in rural areas, regardless of vehicle availability.” With the recent closing of Giant Eagle, which accounted for 36% of the local grocery share, Edinboro Market currently stands as the only food retailer with fresh produce and other healthy grocery staples within walking distance of Edinboro residents.
One of the key goals of the Erie Food Summit was to identify stakeholders in our regional/local food economy. In the room were individuals from food retail and food banks, urban and rural farmers, community workers and policy makers in healthcare, representatives from county and state agencies and more. Focus group conversations identified the need to expand the conversation even further, to include people not already involved in building a more resilient food system. Whether you’re a nurse, mechanic, teacher, artist, tradesperson, government official or a stay-at-home-parent, you and your family eat, and where you eat matters. A strong regional food system will serve us more nimbly than one based on long distance transport and products sourced form other regions or countries. Below are some suggested actions that anyone can take to support a more resilient local food economy.
Supporting with your $$$:
Buy directly from farms. Many Pennsylvania farmers who raise livestock find it difficult to get their products into retail outlets because meat sold there must be USDA inspected. Currently in our area, the only USDA-inspected butchering facility is booked through Fall 2023. When a customer buys meat directly from the producer they can utilize a custom butcher, rather than queuing up in line for the one USDA facility in the county. When you buy your meat through a local meat producer you’ll get a fresher product and you’ll know exactly where your dollars are going.
Identify what you can shop for locally. Separate your grocery list by what you know you could purchase locally, such as seasonal produce, eggs, bread, syrup, or milk. Purchase those items locally so that money stays in your community.
Attend farmer’s markets during the season. You’ll get the freshest produce, and you’ll have an opportunity to connect with your local farmers face-to-face and to ask them questions about their farm or how to use a new-to-you veggie.
Join a CSA or local grocery box. Community-supported agriculture, or a CSA, is a way to directly support farms through paying a set price and receiving a variety of produce grown by the farm monthly or weekly, much like a subscription. Grocery boxes such as the 814 Fresh Box operate similarly, but source from a variety of producers/farms. Here is a list of CSAs in our area.
Join the Erie FPAC, whose mission is to increase equitable access to fresh food across the county.
Word-of-mouth. Invite friends, family, or neighbors over for a meal using local products, and talk about why that matters to you or where the food came from. Post about your favorite local farms or markets on social media, share pictures of their products, and leave reviews.
Thank you to the Collegiate Academy Green Team!
Eight students from Northwest Collegiate Academy’s Green team visited the Edinboro market on 1/26/23 as part of a project titled Getting to the Roots of Environmental Justice funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. As part of this grant, students are learning about the benefits of locally grown food and how important it is to be able to access it. Green Team members hope to grow their own food in the new school garden and to make that food accessible to members of their community!
While at the Market the Green Team learned about our mission and our impact on the local economy, got to know a few of our producers and the work they do, and sampled some yummy, local food. Thank you to Garrett Gleeson from Fat Hawk Farm, Lisa Dvorak from Live and Learn Farms, Stephanie Thauer from Conscious Food Project/Raintree Farms, and Stephanie Ciner from Wild Field Urban Farm for meeting with these students and sharing what you do.