It's November. In my neck of the woods, November signals the end of farmers market season. Not long ago, this put a major damper on my local food diet until spring. But thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I can shop for local vegetables, meats, dairy, baked goods and herbs through the dead of winter.
Here in Little Rock, the Arkansas Sustainability Network hosts the ASN Local Food Club, which has pick-up options on both Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. Each week I get an email telling me the market is open for ordering. I head over the the online market and browse the week's offerings. During the fall and winter, there are still quite a few options available for vegetables, especially those that can be grown in a greenhouse. Fruits range from fresh-picked apples to berries harvested and frozen at their spring or summer peak. The online market is my favorite way to buy local meats all year, since our traditional farmers markets don't often have many vendors selling meats. I fill up my cart with what I want and then "check out." You don't actually pay at the time you place your order, in case a vendor isn't able to complete the order after all (like if they get snowed in or something and can't make the delivery). Pick up is a good time to say hi to my fellow locavoresI'm always bound to run into someone I know.
The great news? This isn't something only done in Little Rock. LocallyGrown.net hosts online farmers markets just like the one I use all over the country.
If you live somewhere without a farm-to-consumer online market, or if you want to expand your purchasing options but still buy from small farmers, you should also check out LocalHarvest and Farmer's Market Online.