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Great places to get local food

Thursday, August 19, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

The local-food movement is growing as fast as the summer’s crop of locally farmed produce. Here are some great places in town you can satisfy your fresh produce fix.

Root Cellar, 443-5055

With a prime downtown location, the Root Cellar is one of the most obvious places to get your local food fix.

The store is located at 814A E. Broadway and has been there about five years. You have to go down a small flight of stairs from Broadway to get there, but this buried location makes the store seem more like a cellar.

Once inside, local goods line the outer walls, with a display of other goods in the center. Co-owner Kimberly Griffin said all the produce and most of the meat that is available this time of year comes from local sources. Her biggest sellers are tomatoes.

“They’re able to be picked when they’re ripe, which means a Missouri greenhouse tomato is much more flavorful than a Florida greenhouse tomato,” she said.

She said the Root Cellar started as a way for people to get local food on days when the farmer’s market wasn’t open.

“We should be living by our means and that’s what I’m trying to do by getting so much local food," she said.

Pierpont Farms, 449- 9851

What’s a better place to get local food than straight from the source? That can be done at Pierpont Farms, which uses Community Supported Agriculture.  To participate in CSA, you purchase a share of the season’s harvest.

People get a range of crops from the farm. This year, the 34 acres produced a range of vegetables and herbs. Fan favorites such as red cherry tomatoes are one option, but there are rarer crops too, such as bok choy.

The CSA program has been around for six years and started with five families. They now have more than 60 families participating, said Angela Hemwal, who runs the farm with her husband.

“We believe in eating local and supporting your local economy,” she said. “Every dollar spent here stays in our economy.”

How to get there: The farm is a mile south of the Pierpont Store, which is near Rock Bridge and Three Creeks State Park. The address is 8810 S. Route N.

Columbia’s Farmers Market, 823-6889

One place Pierpont Farm products regularly goes to is the Columbia Farmers' Market. The mission of the market, according to its website is to give farmers and consumers a reliable marketplace. The market was established in 1980.

The market has more than 90 regular vendors and meets every Saturday in the parking lot behind the ARC. The market has recently expanded to other locations with different hours, including weekday offerings. 

Market Manager Caroline Todd said there were several advantages to going to a farmers market versus an average grocery store.

She compared how the farmers market now has more than 100 varieties of tomatoes, while a grocery store might have only a handful. 

“The local food, you find more variety,” she said.

There are also health benefits to fresh produce, and she said going to the market was just fun to do.

“You never know what you’re going to find,” she added.


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