Community Agriculture Alliance: Don’t Buy food from strangers | SteamboatToday.com

Community Agriculture Alliance: Don’t Buy food from strangers

Community Agriculture Alliance

As a child, you may remember your mother telling you not to talk to strangers or not to take candy from strangers (my personal favorite). Well, what's old is new again, as we adopt the #dontbuyfoodfromstrangers to promote local food.

As a local nonprofit organization, Community Agriculture Alliance has been working to promote and support local food in the Yampa Valley. We've been encouraging people to "Be a Yampavore," defining that as someone who eats local from the Yampa Valley.

It's easier than ever to buy local: Visit to caamarket.org and start shopping The online farmers market is open for weekly ordering Monday through Thursday, and orders are picked up Friday afternoons in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Product availability varies by season, and includes farm fresh eggs, local lamb and pork, grass fed beef, local honey, certified organic potatoes, baked bread and more.

Each producer has a profile page on the site, so you can learn more about their practices, background and ingredients. CAA recently started a "Meet your Producer" campaign to share the stories of our local producers. Following are a a few of the wonderful, hard-working local food producers in our community.

• Innovative Ag planted its first seed in June 2014. While still young as a company, its roots in agriculture are deep. Built at Overlook Ranch in west Routt County — passed down over six generations — founder/creator, Mark Berkley transformed a traditional cattle-horse ranch to a fully operational agriculture farm of microgreens, specialty herbs, edible flowers and mushrooms. Using green, creative and innovative practices, the growing operations and building systems utilize re-purposed, recycled and sustainable manufactured materials to produce quality products.

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• Truly Family Farm started as a small family farm in South Routt growing fruits and vegetables for personal use in 1999, mainly because the family wanted to know what was in and on their food. Through the years, their garden and farming interests have grown enough to share with others. They have 17 bee hives, ducks, geese, pigs and lots of chickens. They use organic farming practices in growing vegetables and herbs. The bees are kept on their farm and never moved out of the county or state. Their honey is never heated or filtered. David Truly, put it best: "All our plants and animals are grown and treated with the utmost love and care."

• Whaley Lamb has roots in the Yampa Valley for generations, where both families were original homesteaders in South Routt. Currently, they operate a diversified livestock operation that includes commercial beef and a flock of club lambs you will see at local county fairs. Annually, grass fed lambs are available for local buyers. In addition, they raise hay, and their four girls on the family ranch continuing their agricultural heritage and family values.

• The Little Penny Cart is a true family affair, with three young girls who believe "you should know where your food comes from." They raise livestock in the most humane and natural environment possible. Laying chickens are free-range and raised on unmedicated, local feed. Ducks are free-range (with full access to their creek) and raised on organic grain. Cattle are grass-fed and grass-finished without hormones or antibiotics. Hogs are raised on pasture and scraps from local. Nissa Brodman said, "We believe in sustainable farming and hope you will come and see our farm. We try to close the loop as much as possible. We are avid followers of Joel Salatin, and we believe in and try to practice sustainable farming methods."

To learn more about CAA, the CAA Market and meet producers, join us Friday, Nov. 4, for our annual meeting. Stop by the back room of the VFW, downtown Steamboat Springs, from 4 to 6 p.m., and remember what mom said: "Don't buy food from strangers."

Michele Meyer is local food coordinator for the Community Agriculture Alliance.