More and more Martha's customers are interested in living a healthier, sustainable lifestyle, so choosing locally sourced food is not only a smart choice for us, but we have been tapping local sources for products since our founding. Locally sourced food generally comes in the form of organic fruits, vegetables, cheese, and meat, but our network of local suppliers has taken it to another level to also offer prepared foods using only locally sourced ingredients.
According to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry’s Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, “the term ‘locally or regionally produced agricultural food product’ means [food] raised, produced, and distributed in the locality or region in which the final product is marketed, so that the total distance that the product is transported is less than 400 miles from the origin of the product.” We adhere to this guideline as a general rule when sourcing locally.
Historically, the roots of the locally sourced food movement can be traced to the Society of Nutrition Education’s 1981 guidelines (coincidentally the same year Martha's Vineyard opened its doors), which promoted local food production in order to slow farmland loss. These statutes also prescribed sustainable diets, something that was a new idea for the American public.
The main reason we choose to promote locally sourced food is that most of these products are nutritious and promote good health, which appeals to our health-conscious customers. Purchasing locally sourced items also helps keep your money local and boosts nearby economies. Additionally, locally sourced fruits, vegetables, and other products offer culinary variety because they change from season to season, so we know which fruits and vegetables are in season in our area. Choosing locally sourced food also contributes to a sustainable agricultural economy. Using these ingredients encourages crop rotation, which in turn keeps soil in good condition and doesn’t deplete it.
Best of all, growing and purchasing locally sourced ingredients also promotes sustainability. Preserving the environment of beautiful West Michigan for future generations has long been another reason for our passionate pursuit of locally sourced food. Additionally, increasing the business volume of our local providers returns more of the food’s purchase price back to the farmers that cultivated it, making it a win-win for everyone in our West Michigan community.
Martha's Vineyard also knows the difference between “local” and “organic.” While some locally sourced food is organic, this may not always be the case. If a product is certified organic, though, it will be indicated on the label. If the farmer hasn’t followed the organic farming guidelines put in place by the USDA, the product isn’t organic. Considering the agricultural area in which we live, locally sourced food is not difficult to find. Our long history of relationships with local farmers and supplier means procuring locally sourced food for our customers is never problematic.
As a small family-owned business, incorporating locally sourced food into our daily business provide is close to our mission of offering high-quality products while also keeping your money in the local economy, and increasing sustainability and food security in West Michigan. We look forward to sharing this mission with you. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you to the freshest, seasonal products available any day.