Fresh-Picked Local Goodness

By: Michelle Mayhew | Produce Director
On: May 25, 2017

When I think of all the local produce streaming into our stores this time of year, I think of it as getting the best of the fresh. You know—picked that morning and on your table by that evening. That’s why I love local and choose to buy local. And this is the best time of year for us Ohioans to do just that.

This brings to mind so many of our nearby farming friends, like Jon Branstrator in Clarksville, who brings us local strawberries from his farm in the late spring. Jon says the berries that start growing in the cool spring are the happiest and he assures us that he grows them to intensify the flavor of the fruit. He asserts that Ohio berries are so perfect in spite of the short growing season because we have some of the best terroir, or growth conditions. You can see and taste the results. They are smaller, but more intense. Cut into one and you see that they are a deep red throughout and they rank high on our most important measure: flavor! Berries of this caliber have a short shelf life, but Jon delivers to us several days a week to ensure that we have a steady flow of berry goodness.

Then there are the certified organic local greens, herbs, and spring garlic grown at Brickel Creek Organic Farm this time of year in Jamestown. We've partnered with Sue Borton for about 10 years! Her spring garlic is sweeter and milder than mature garlic, yet has a spicier taste than scallions. Add it to salads and dressings, throw it in a frittata or soup, or grill and enjoy with other vegetables.

Next, let’s cruise to Yellow Springs where Paul and Megan Rion from Orion Organics grow plump tomatoes, summer squash, and peppers. Oh the possibilities with these for your plate. We've partnered with this family since 2003.

If you continue the journey down to Clarksville, you'll find my friends Guy and Sandy Ashmore from That Guy’s Family Farm. When I think of the Ashmore family, I get excited about using their fresh organic greens to make a big, delicious summer salad.

If you head to Amish country, that's where you'll find the Eicher Family and their friends who bring us those beautiful tomatoes, cucumbers, and green beans—all good summer staples. As the heat of the summer sets in, that supply of local tomatoes will really kick into gear. We've carried fresh produce from the Eicher family and their friends for many years.

Hope you enjoy the bounty of Love Local produce making its way into our stores as much as I do! The best part is that we're just getting started!