Is there anybody in the Somerville/Cambridge area interested in "eating off the grid"? I am looking to make connections with local folks for group orders at local sustainable farms. New to the game. Any advice would be helpful. Anybody interested?
I was a member for several years of a very good CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in Amherst. I live in JP, so a bunch of folks there became members and each week the farm drove to JP and dropped off our weekly produce. It was great. You usually pay for the whole season in advance. There are a number of farms in Mass. that have these arrangements. If you search online for CSAs in Mass., I am sure you will find one you can join.
This isn't a great time of year to start this project because, well, it's February and there's little to no fresh local produce. (On the other hand, if you find a CSA that's convenient for you, it's a great time of year because they're looking to sing up members now!) If you search this board for "farmer's market" or "CSA" you'll find lots of threads about the many great markets that run in the summer and fall, and about farms that sell shares for weekly pickup in season.
Meats, especially poultry, can be a bit trickier, but it's gotten much easier to find locally raised meat in only the past year or two. River Rock Farm and Stillman's Farm are two well-known and well-liked local producers. Blood Farm in Groton raises some meat of its own and also does the butchering and smoking for many small local farms (and local 4H kids as well) You have to go to their farm to buy, but they're well-stocked, and very well-priced. Their bacon is outstanding.
Take a look at Houde Family Farm, now delivering to Arlington (also Melrose). I've been very pleased with their meats and they are a small family farm, very nice people and really great meat.
Chestnut Farm also delivers to Arlington although their site mentions a waitlist
Take a look at www.localharvest.org for more options.
Good luck- be aware of local licensing issues if you try to set it up yourself. We've been having some difficulties with local authorities in Melrose with the meats. The powers that be don't have any problem with raw fruits and vegetables but the meats seems to fall under different regulations. The effort is worth it though, and i really believe that if enough people in enough communities make it clear to local government that this is something residents really want, there'll be a way to make it happen without all this fuss. The benefits go both ways- the farmers have a guaranteed advance income stream and urban residents get access to high quality farm direct products.