First, you should recognize that you can find far more than just beef from local farmers. It’s not all that hard to find other good meats such as chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, or even goat. All of which will be head and shoulders above what you get at the store quality wise.
Not only can you find good local farmers who raise common livestock, but you can even find some more rare meats such as ducks, bison, or ostrich.
And don’t forget about the old staple … eggs! But again, as with meats, don’t limit yourself to just chicken eggs. Ducks have good eggs, and if you can find that ostrich farm … give those a whirl too!
A great place to find good local producers is at Eat Wild.
Now on to other food products. Vegetables and other plants! Here there’s a couple things to keep in mind. First, you can simply switch your buying decisions from the supermarket to a farmers market and benefit your local producers that way, as well as getting a better product for similar or even better prices.
Second, you can also (note I said ALSO!) sign up for one or more local CSA programs. The neat thing about this is you’ll end up with seasonal fruits, vegetables, and greens that you might have never even heard of, let alone used. It’s a great way to expand your horizons and learn what grows well locally. You’ll end up with favorites that you want to grow yourself!
Finally, one of our all time favorites is the ‘pick your own’ type farms. This is generally something that’s limited to fruits and berries, at least in our neck of the woods. Our general plan here is to go and spend a few hours picking, until the kids are tired, and then buying a bunch of the pre=picked stuff. All in all it’s still way cheaper than the store, and quality wise it’s superb. This is where we get most of our canning fruits.