Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD When going to the grocery store each week do you ever wonder where those tomatoes you bought were grown or how fresh they are?
According to Jessica Harwood, owner of Valley Green Feast a green business that delivers local foods to homes and businesses in Hampden and Hampshire counties the average distance from farm to consumer is 1,500 miles.
In an interview with Reminder Publications, Harwood explained that in today's society, which now places emphasis on sustainable practices, buying locally grown food helps to reduce carbon emissions as well as aiding the local economy. Those who participate in this growing trend are called "locavores," people who buy foods grown or produced within a certain mile radius.
Earlier this month, Harwood announced that she has expanded her delivery service via bio-fueled truck into Westfield. She began the service in Northampton last June and has since expanded into Amherst, Chicopee, Easthampton, East Longmeadow, Granby, Hadley, Holyoke, Longmeadow, South Hadley, Springfield and West Springfield.
"My customers have been really happy with [the service]," Harwood said. "You can really taste the difference because it's [the foods] really fresh."
She explained that she chose to start this business because "as a consumer I wanted to know how to get local foods more easily," adding, "farmers are excited because [their products] are going straight to the customers."
Mike Wissemann, owner of Warner Farm in Sunderland, agreed. "The emphasis over the last three to four years about [buying] local foods has helped our business," he said. "People are becoming more knowledgeable about the better taste and quality of local [foods]. Valley Green Feast is taking [the concept of buying] local and going a step further [by offering a delivery service]."
Each Friday, Harwood picks up the foods, including seasonal produce, meat, fish, cheese and eggs from Warner Farm and several others in the area, and then delivers them to customers. Households and businesses have the option of weekly or bi-weekly delivery of products of their choice such as mini, small, medium or large produce baskets, ranging from $18 to $25 per week or various meats including lamb, pork, fish, beef or chicken ranging from $5 to $12 per pound.
Harwood said she is hoping that her business will "be able to educate people about eating healthy, locally grown foods."
She noted that during the winter months she will continue her delivery service supplementing fresh produce baskets with winter squash and onions and organic vegetables.
For more information about Valley Green Feast or to begin delivery service, visit www.valleygreenfeast.com.