Winter League: Buying club makes it easy to eat local all year round

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Buying local food can be challenging in the winter. Maybe you missed the sign-up window for a winter CSA, and farmers markets have packed up until spring. But since 2001, Farm to City’s Winter Harvest buying club has been helping to bridge the gap.

“We created the buying club for a year-round supply of local food,” says Bob Pierson, Winter Harvest founder and director. “Local food supports the local economy, and it’s healthier than what you can get from faraway places.”

Forty-five area farmers and small-scale food businesses such as Good Spoon, Metropolitan Bakery and Rineer Family Farms stock the buying club with more than 500 items, including veggies, meat from grass-fed animals, dairy, fruit preserves, soups, artisan and body-care products and more. Members choose their items, receive the weekly delivery at one of the 21 pick-up locations in the Philadelphia area, and pay as they go. Enrollment is open throughout the season, with no upfront cost and no minimum weekly order.

Kevin Parker, a Winter Harvest member for eight years, enjoys the convenience and choice the buying club model offers.

“We get flour and grains, fish, meat and cheese, in addition to produce,” he says. “We are able to avoid a grocery during the winter as easily as we can during the summer.”

See the extensive product list, producer profiles and sign-up information at farmtocity.org.

Story byKristin Maranki.