PLATTSBURGH - More and more, people are beginning to buy their foods locally. Now people can actually visit the places where their local food comes from.
John Pelletier, an employee with the North Country Food Co-op, held his first field trip in May to Elfs Farm Winery and Cider Mill, getting the chance to see just how wine and cider is made.
"I think we had about six folks and we had about two extra people that just happened to stop by at the same time and they wanted to go," recalled Pelletier.
While Pelletier was away during the summer months, now that he's back in the area for college, he's working to continue the field trips.
The first one will be held at Asgaard Farm in Au Sable Forks, within the next couple of weeks.
"They provide the co-op with meat and cheese," said Pelletier.
While at the farm, he explained there will be a tour of the facilities, along with a history lesson, as the farm is actually the historic Rockwell Kent house.
Originally Pelletier began the field trips after making connections with various farmers and providers while working with the Earth Day Every Day Committee to plan the local Earth Day events.
"We have a lot of people that shop at the co-op," said Pelletier. "We've had a huge jump in the number of people who shop here. A lot more memberships. So we really do work on getting the local products. It's just something else that I thought might be interesting to the folks that do shop here that have been shopping here for awhile."
"I don't know how many of them have been to, or know of, what an active dairy farm is or what a winery looks like," he added. "[It's] just something to bring them closer to where their food is."
Pelletier feels that if people are already shopping at the co-op, then they're definitely on the right path to buying locally, but the field trips will get them even more involved with their food.
"If you're interested, you can learn a little bit more about how your food is taken care of, you can see the facilities and know that you're getting a good quality product from farmers that really care," he explained.
Pelletier plans to continue the field trips every month through December, when he will be graduating from college. He hopes someone will step up and continue what he began.
"There's so many opportunities as you start going west toward Potsdam [to visit various farms]," he said. "In Vermont, you have so many different options. Turkey farms that we get our turkeys from over there. The High Mowing Seed Company which we get our seeds from. You have so many options that it should keep people busy for years to come."
If interested in attending a field trip, e-mail Pelletier at email@example.com, or drop off your information at the North Country Food Co-op, 25 Bridge St. Pelletier will e-mail information through the co-op's e-mail list.