The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

July 16, 2014

Local, regional products are carefully selected for Berea College Farm Store

RICHMOND — A lot of thought and consideration goes into the product selection for the Berea College Farm Store.

First and foremost are the meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains grown on the Berea College Farm by our students. The Farm Store is the culmination of the daily watering, weeding and harvesting of plants and the feeding and care of the animals that gives our students a retail outlet for all their accumulated efforts.

The students’ work and due diligence allow Farm Store customers to have access to humanely raised meats and certified organic produce just a few short steps from where the products are grown.

However, there are not enough hours in the day or staff and students on the payroll for the farm to produce all the tasty treats desired by the folks that step foot in our door.

To meet the diverse demands of our discerning clientele, the Farm Store follows guidelines that help us select the best local products available. For items that we don’t produce ourselves, we first look within the county to see if there is another local farmer growing the items missing from our shelves.

Preference is given to local farmers and Berea College alumni who grow certified organic produce and humanely raise their meat on pasture. If these criteria cannot be met within the county, we then look for farmers in adjacent counties.

Of course, there are times when desired items are unattainable within the four counties of Madison, Estill, Jackson and Rockcastle. Our next step then is to find products within Kentucky.

We are extremely lucky to live in an agriculture-based state. Around 90 percent of the products on the shelves at the Farm Store are grown or produced within the boundaries of our commonwealth.

We specifically seek out products that are Kentucky Proud, but we also try to take that one step farther and find quality products that not only are produced in Kentucky but also use ingredients sourced from Kentucky farms.

Sometimes this takes a little extra digging, but we think our customers appreciate the extra effort and time that it takes to find the best local products money can buy.

Our last step in sourcing products for the Farm Store is to reach out to our regional partners for items we have been unable to source within the Bluegrass region. We partner with small businesses within portions of the nine Appalachian states historically served by the Berea College: Kentucky, southern Ohio, eastern Tennessee, West Virginia, western Virginia and North Carolina, plus northern parts of South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

A map in our store pinpoints many of the locations where our goods are produced.

We are always on the look-out for delicious new products that meet our criteria, so please email jessa_turner@berea.edu, if you have any suggestions.

Until next time, eat well!

 

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