Katie McCormick is a Germantown locavore.
“A locavore is someone who eats local food,” she explains. A peek into her refrigerator reveals free-range eggs, glass bottles of milk and various cuts of meat.
“That’s Berta,” said McCormick, pointing to the pork loin and sausage. “She was at the [Montgomery County] fair last year." Berta didn't win a ribbon, but her brother did.
Such intimate knowledge of your dinner may seem strange to some, but the locavore movement has surged in popularity in recent years. The word was first coined in 2005, when four women from San Francisco challenged people to eat foods produced within a 100 mile radius of their homes. By 2007, “locavore” was New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year.
Winter can be hard for locavores in colder climates. McCormick is no exception.
“I loathe winter and buying grocery store produce,” she said. “I can feel the wax on my food.”
McCormick said that during the winter, she only manages to buy 40 percent of her food from local sources. In the summer, that number skyrockets closer to 90 percent.
“We belong to a CSA [consumer supported agriculture] in the growing season,” said McCormick. “You buy into a share of a farm. When that farmer harvests, you get your share of the crop.”
CSAs are also steadily growing in popularity in the United States. Farmers benefit by having a steady cash flow into the farm prior to the harvest. Consumers get to eat fresh, local food from a trusted source. Some CSAs simply provide the weekly harvest; others, like Germantown's Red Wiggler Farm, give members tours of the farm and other perks. In 2007, over 12,500 farms in the United States marketed products through CSAs.
“I’m really proud of the green impact of the way we eat, but my main motivation was health reasons,” said McCormick. “There are so many antibiotics, growth steroids and unnatural diets fed to the animals that we eat that I decided that I wanted to eat this way.”
McCormick started by buying all USDA-certified organic food but discovered that she could save money purchasing food from local sources. With a Maryland-based farmer, McCormick can drive to the farm and ask questions about how her food is produced.
“Even if they’re not USDA-certified, I feel comfortable,” said McCormick, describing an example with the CSA she participated in last year. “They farm as organically as possible, but he’s a small family farmer and he will not lose a crop. [If he has to use pesticides], he lets us know. When we go to pick up our share, he’ll say, ‘The tomatoes this week are not organic.’ I’m okay with that. We’re still eating good quality natural food.”
McCormick shares her favorite local food sources:
14701 Darnestown Road
Darnestown, MD 20874
herbs, vegetables, fruit
18901 Peach Tree Road
Dickerson, MD 20842
vegetables, fruit, jams, baking mixes, butter, honey
Red Wiggler Community Farm
23400 Ridge Rd
Germantown, MD 20876
vegetables, herbs, flowers (CSA members only)
Rights of Man Farm
9120 Ball Road
Ijamsville, MD 21754
vegetables, beef, chicken, eggs, pork, lamb, goat
South Mountain Creamery
8305 Bolivar Road
Middletown, MD 21769
ice-cream, milk, beef, pork, chicken, lamb
10720 Dern Road
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
eggs, pork, rabbit, lamb, goat, poultry, produce, herbs