West Virginia has a few locally owned, independent grocery stores that sell local products, and my good friend Lisa is doing some research into them. While talking with her, I was inspired to seek some nearby ones out and encourage folks to support them in my upcoming column for the WV Gazette-Mail.
The Highlands Food & Farm was one of the first on the list. Here's some info from their Facebook page:
Funded through Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and Tucker Community Foundation. In-Kind support provided by Tucker County Convention & Visitors Bureau, WVU Extension Service and Tucker County Development Authority.
The Highland Market opened with the help from a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant. Inventory will fluctuate, depending on availability, but wholesome goodies have consistently been on the shelves. We’ve been offering a constant flow of farm fresh eggs, dairy and goat cheeses, seasonal and greenhouse produce and are seeking a wider variety as much as available. Frozen vegetables are in stock as well as frozen grass-fed beef and pasture-raised pork, lamb and chickens.
Other items include fresh breads, granola bars, honey, maple syrup, soups, hummus, granola, coffee, organic spice blends, jams, mustard, pinto, kidney black beans, polenta, spelt, millet and rye flour. We also now stock items from Frankferd Farm Foods on a monthly basis. These items include non-homogenized milk, butter, organic yogurt, and other goods that are otherwise unavailable (ie organic Tamari, organic grains and unsulphured dried fruit); please call for availability. The search will continue as we acquire more items to provide full diet ingredients.
We NOW accept EBT (Food Stamps)! We also accept local checks, cash and Credit/Debit (minimum purchase of $15).
One of our goals is to help local producers, while helping residents and visitors eat more nutrient rich, unprocessed foods. Because of this, we deal with many individual producers and, in most cases, 70-85% of the purchase price returns to the farmers!
The shop is quite lovely! They have meats, cheeses, coffee, honey, syrup, breads and a some grab & go items made from ingredients from local farms.
So, I picked up some raw milk cheese from Spring Gap Mountain Creamery because I had never tried ti before. I got the gouda, and it's definitely a bit stronger than I anticipated. But, not bad.
And, I also got these bleu cheese and spinach wontons from the grab & go portion. They included Firefly Farms' bleu cheese and a handful of other ingredients from local farms. How cool is that? These, I'm sure, are even better warmed up and toasty, but I popped them in my mouth before I could actually get home. So tasty!
Yes, I love the idea behind local groceries. It's a small store that genuinely cares about the products they're putting in their community. Our farmers are being supported -- we have all these folks right in our community, yet we're buying products from super far away. Plus, it's healthier for us, and we're helping our local economy. Win, win, win, win.