Buy local, eat local: Support your health and the Finger Lakes economy

Share to:


The start of spring brings the beginning of another growing season for Northeast farmers. Farmers and home gardeners alike have been busy tilling up their fields and sowing different seeds. You may be itching at the chance to pick that first fruit of the season or to find the farm stand with the freshest corn available, but do you know where to look to find the most complete list of farms in Ontario County?

Look no further, CCE Ontario has partnered with Visit Finger Lakes to provide a complete list of farms who sell directly to consumers in Ontario County. This list is hosted at under their farms and markets section. There is also a physical Buy Local Brochure to highlight facts and notable local agriculture spots.

In this listing you will find farms of all varieties. You can find summer farm stands as well as meat markets and producers and even a handful of flower farms who offer CSA subscriptions and farm stand availability.

There are many great aspects to having such a diverse set of farms in our backyard. Let me tell you about some of the great advantages to having so much local agriculture here (and notable events that I hope interest you).

With many of these farms selling direct to consumers, you should consider this a great advantage to living and traveling in our area. During summer we have farm markets happening weekly, starting in June, and within walking distance of many of the large population centers of Canandaigua, Farmington, Geneva and Victor. If your schedule does not allow you to get to the market every week, perhaps visiting a farm stand may be a better option, and usually if you bring cash you can have a contactless transaction.

Farmers markets and farm stands can be like going to a grocery store, but you may not know the availability of products until you are there. Fortunately, there is another option that will ensure you get the fresh products you need. Subscribe to a CSA (community supported agriculture). It works by paying upfront for a subscription to a weekly food box. Usually at the beginning of the season farmers will sell CSA subscriptions, with a list of what you can expect to get each week, which is helpful for the people who like to meal plan and prep.

There are also CSAs for flower farms. Do you love fresh flowers each week? Try one of these subscriptions and know that you are supporting local agriculture and enjoying the freshest in-season flowers.

One must also consider the luck we have as residents and travelers to this region at the prospect of eating the so-called “100-mile diet.” If you are not familiar, the diet is a challenge of only eating foods grown within 100 miles of your house or place of eating. It could also be called the “low-carbon diet,” as it can help reduce your carbon footprint due to food not traveling by plane, train or automobile as far.

A low-carbon diet is often associated with eating a plant-based diet and limiting your meat and dairy consumption because of their association with high greenhouse gas emissions. But think about how much local meat and dairy products we have that do not need to travel very far to meet the consumer.

For example, if you compare Upstate Niagara’s whole milk to a similar almond-based alternative, a resident in Ontario County probably lives less than 20 miles away from a dairy farm and that milk won’t travel more than 100 miles to be processed and sold to you. A similar almond-based beverage must travel from a California almond grove to be processed and sold to a New York resident.

A similar scenario happens for meat products as well, with many farms regionally growing their own beef and chicken then getting it processed in the region. The carbon footprint ends up being extremely low. The 100-mile diet can be for everyone and is a very attainable challenge for anyone living in or visiting the Finger Lakes region.

As a region that is becoming a tourist destination, there are some notable events that could interest you as well. Each year during the last full week of July, the Ontario County Fair happens, highlighting local agriculture and with attractions for everyone.

Usually during the second to third week of March, many maple producers in our area put on a maple weekend to educate people about maple syrup and host pancake breakfasts. Another event held biannually in Ontario County is “Fun on the Farm,” where a dairy farm hosts an open house to teach people about local agriculture and give a tour of their dairy operation. This year it will be Sept. 28 at Hemdale Farms.

With nice weather ahead and fresh local food available, I hope consumers choose to eat locally, attend a regional event and talk to their local farmers this summer. For more information on local foods visit If you would like to check out the new local foods listing visit If you would like to learn more about becoming a farmer yourself or just have an ag-related question, contact Jacob Maslyn at or 585.394.3977 ext. 402.

by Jacob Maslyn, Ag Economic Development Educator, CCE Ontario

Recent Posts:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *