Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and the bare grocery store shelves, more and more people wanted to know where their food originated. In the case of meat how were the animals raised and treated. What kind of chemicals were used in growing the fruits and vegetables? The easy answer to all those questions would be, work with a Central New York Farmer.

While the answer "farmer" might be easy, if you live in apartment 2b or a city or town, odds are you don't know a farmer. Here are some places you can find locally grown products and farmers who are selling to the public.

Jim Manning at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Oneida County created an online guide, Community Walk.com,  providing a map to Farmer's Markets, Farm Stands, Maple Producers. Beekeepers/Honey, and CSA's. You can input your zip code to find the nearest location for each.

If you're not familiar with CSA's, it's a contract between you and a farmer for a "share" of the produce he grows. You pay upfront, enabling the farmer to plan his crops and purchase seeds. Then when harvest time comes, you receive weekly or bi-weekly fresh fruits and vegetables.

Another good online site is, Local Harvest.org. Similar to Community Walk, it details Farms, Farmer's Markets, and Farm Stands. The site also provides grocery stores carrying locally grown foods and restaurants that cook with locally procured products.

MeatSuite.com is a site to find, as the name suggests, meat. Everything from beef, pork, and lamb to chicken, turkey, ducks, and even bison. A simple search found 20 farms within 25 miles. They provide great details on how they raise their animals and what they are feed. Some even offer payment plans if you want to purchase in bulk.

Herkimer County's Cornell Cooperative Extension offers a local foods map too.

It's a win-win for you and the farmer when you buy locally sourced foods. You get great quality at an affordable price, your supporting a Central New York Farmer and their family, and strengthening the local and regional economies too. Plus you know where your food is coming from and how it was produced.

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