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Case Study > Expressly Local Food®

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA)

Location and Advice

Expressly Local

The process of changing your life to become more green can be a long hard practice, however with the help from local Lancaster County friends and businesses that process is becoming much easier and more tangible for the consumer. A local business in particular has dedicated their time, energy and efforts into helping bring such a wonderful lifestyle to the communities surrounding Lancaster City. Expressly Local Food was established a few years ago and have recently set up shop on one of the most ubiquitous streets in Lancaster city, King street. Cheryl Young and Kharran Cattell bring to this community a place for consumers to enjoy a real taste of organic homegrown goods right next door.

Their mission statement says it all: We're all about "Local Food for Local Folks". There are numerous reasons for eating locally and our goal is to source and offer local food that has been produced on small diverse farms in a way that is sustainable for our environment, healthy, fresh, and delicious!

Before there is any discussion on how this establishment came to life, it is important to understand what it really means to buy fresh and buy local. How is someone supposed to know whether the foods and products they are consuming are really from the hearts of the local Lancaster County soil? Buy Fresh Buy Local ® is a nationwide, grassroots program managed by the Food Routes Network.For this state, Pennsylvania chapters are coordinated by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture or better known as (PASA). Lancaster’s Buy Fresh Buy Local ® chapter is organize by The Friends of Central Market and The Local Economy Center of Franklin and Marshall College, and also, with assistance from The Library System of Lancaster County.

The mission of Lancaster Buy Fresh Buy Local ® is to increase the demand for locally-produced foods, and strengthen our local food system by connecting Lancaster County families, farmers markets, restaurants, and other institutions with Lancaster County farmers.

The programs are designed to educate the local population about the benefits of locally-grown foods. Which in turn will hopefully heighten the access of consumers to local and sustainable produced foods. Moreover, this will in turn help the Lancaster farmers find local markets for their products.

When shopping for these products there will be a The Buy Fresh Buy Local ® label somewhere on the manufactured goods. This label is the stamp of approval that represents quality foods, grown in Lancaster County soil. Look for it on product packaging, in stores, on menus, and at your farmers market. It represents a network of farms, restaurants, grocers, and farmers markets you can rely on for the freshest food Lancaster County has to offer. It is also important to remember, that it is easy to buy local in Lancaster County. When you buy foods grown by these farmers, your monetary contributions help to filter back through and support the local economy. This circulation then helps the farm families, and brings fresh, appetizing, and healthful foods to your family’s table. Buying locally grown and produced foods means you can choose food from farmers you know and trust.

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture was founded in 1992. The main purpose for starting such an organization was to promote profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people, while respecting the natural environment of which these products were birthed. PASA's steady and motivating vision has continued to be to transform agriculture and food systems in Pennsylvania and further in such a way that makes local farmers more practical, improves the land that is so precious for products and animals and has a mission that restores the health and well-being of all Pennsylvanians looking to live a more Green lifestyle. PASA is a nonprofit organization in structure, but happens to be entrepreneurial in spirit. This is evident as they use farmer’s resources carefully to create a collaborative relationship with participants. The main goal is the hope of achieving quantifiable results where they can grow, without compromising the values connected with living a more Green life. For this organization, “success is defined as the dual process of achieving their mission now while also building capacity to impact the future for many generations to come.” Since 1992, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture continues working to bring farmers together to learn from each other, and to build relationships between those farmers and consumers looking for fresh, wholesome, locally and sustainably produced food. As the largest statewide, member-based sustainable farming organization in the United States, PASA seeks to improve the economic capability, environmental dependability and social responsibility of food and farming systems in Pennsylvania and more in depth, across the country. They place an immense value on efforts to make multiple links on a large chain between broadly diverse participants in the agricultural industry, from "farm to fork."

PASA grew out of the need for an educational and support system for farmers-both experienced and beginning-interested in non-traditional agricultural practices, such as organic, biodynamic and grass-based farming, as well as the desire to create local markets for such sustainably produced food.

PASA's mission now reaches thousands of farmers through a variety of channels. Each year, numerous Farm Based Education programs are held throughout the state, offering insight into real-life agricultural operations and giving farmers a chance to learn from other farmers who themselves have learned through experience. We also make available and discuss relevant research on topics of sustainability as it comes available.

The annual Farming for the Future conference began in 1992 with a bang as hundreds of interested farmers and other sustainable agriculture enthusiasts showed up for our first two-day event. Now the conference has grown into a nearly weeklong experience delivering a multitude of workshops led by leading authorities on a wide range of cutting-edge, alternative agricultural practices. Attendance currently stands at approximately 2,000 participants representing most states in this country and several other countries as well. Topics range from pastured-based livestock production, integrated pest management and organic vegetable production to human nutrition, renewable energy and environmental policy.

PASA has come to recognize that farming extends far beyond the edge of field and pasture. Our work encompasses the development of healthy food systems for both rural and urban communities. To accomplish this, PASA has more recently worked to build consumer awareness about food safety and nutritional issues through education and advocacy, and by networking with other consumer groups, nonprofit organizations and government agencies throughout the state and nation. The annual Farming for the Future conference is PASA's signature event and our main vehicle for community building. Widely regarded as the best of its kind in the East, this diverse event brings together an audience of over 2,000 farmers, processors, consumers, students, environmentalists, and business and community leaders annually. The sheer numbers and diversity of business and organizations that are associated with the conference are notable, through sponsoring, exhibiting and presenting. Typical conference workshops focus on such practical topics as poultry production, cheese making, riparian buffers, organic certification and raw milk marketing. The very popular day-long "Pre-Conference" tracks offer in-depth exploration of special topic areas.

The conference does not focus entirely on practical training for farmers. Keynote speeches in recent years have featured such visionaries as human rights advocate Anuradha Mittal, environmental leader William McDonough, world humanitarian Vandana Shiva, Native American activist Winona LaDuke, environmental activist Diane Wilson, an economist extraordinaire John Ikerd and peak oil specialist James Kunstler.

The Farming for the Future conference continues to bring the PASA membership a high quality program with knowledgeable field experts, acclaimed keynote speakers, and special events. Year after year, conference staff and volunteers do their best to plan and provide this inspiring event, always with an eye to improve things as we can. Special features of the conference include; youth & teen programming, a babysitting program, a triumvirate of benefit auctions, the Sustainable TradeShow and Marketplace, and conference meals featuring sustainably, organically, and regionally raised foods from over forty PASA members throughout our region.

Expressly Local Food finds its home in the 1300 square foot, formally a church, establishment on 213 West King Street in Lancaster City. On October 31 a project many years in the making went through over $50,000 dollars of renovations to make this location what it is today. The previous owner of the building used the location as a local church. A transformation into a new gathering place for people with the same goals and ideas is not a big stretch. The Expressly Local Food style has not just sprung out of nowhere. For two years consumers could find Cheryl and Kharran in there first location, “The Porch” sharing recipes and locally grown food and goods at Cheryl’s home 800 Race Ave. Lancaster, PA 17603, on the corner of Race and W. Clay Streets. At Cheryl’s dwelling the store got the nickname “The Porch” because it was quite literally on the front deck of her home. Before the store was opened there were some limitations. Now that they have the new store open, there are also many new possibilities. Some of the suggestions you may find are as follows:

The chickens do not lay as many eggs in the winter as they do in the warmer months, so we fill orders for folks who order and sell extras if there are any.

The milk is $6.50 a gallon, $3.50 a half gallon, and $1.75 a quart. It comes from Fertile Valley Farm in Myerstown from a herd of grass fed Holstein and Jersey cows.

The eggs are $2.50 a dozen and come from free range Rhode Island Red hens from various Amish farms in southern Lancaster County.

The raw cow's milk cheeses are from Wakefield Dairies (Wakefield). The cheddar, colby, herbal jack, pepper jack, and garlic & chive are $4.00 for an approximate 1/2 pound piece. The 10 month cave aged Bouche cheese is $7.00 for an approximate 1/2 pound piece.

The goat milk chevre from Linden Dale Farm will only be available for a week or two and then the goats rest until March, but the goat milk feta will be available a bit longer.

The Flax-Alive Crackers (Lancaster) are $3.50 a 4 oz. package. Ingredients: flax seeds, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, hot peppers, raisins, spices. The crackers are dried at 105 degrees to make them a 'live' food (enzymes are still intact and alive). Naturally gluten-free.

The yogurt is from Pequea Valley Farm in Ronks. It's a whole milk yogurt made with milk from grass fed Jersey cows and 5 yogurt cultures. $4 a quart.

The honey is unprocessed, unheated from York County.

Any of the baked goods from Millfresh can be ordered but they stock the fruitcake because it is so outstanding. They can also place orders for gluten-free breads from Spice of Life in Lancaster-- the flavors are Multi grain, Cinnamon Raisin, and Cheddar Herb.

Tait Farm products are outstanding. The jams contain over half a pound of fruit in a 9 oz. jar and use a third less sugar due to the type of pectin used to thicken the jams. $6.95 a jar. The Fig and Olive Relish is fabulous and perfect with the chevre. Fruit shrub is a drink enjoyed by both ancient Romans and colonists like Martha Washington. Its a very intensely fruit based vinegar that is sweetened spiced-- a concentrated fruit flavor, not particularly vinegary- that you dilute with plain or sparkling water for a delicious healthy drink. Raspberry, Cherry, Ginger, Strawberry, or Cranberry. $8.25 a 12 oz. bottle.

Expressly Local Food is a great place for those individuals who are interested in an extensive variety and selection of very flavorful, wholesome, and truly locally produced fresh and also prepared foods. Each product featured in this store is produced in the most healthy sustainable manner and originates from time-honored small diverse farms, larger organic growers, artisan cheese makers and local home-fresh bakers. Cheryl and Kharran personally visit with all twenty-two and growing, of the producers that contribute to their sales. Getting themselves better acquainted with their system of operation to better identify, profile, and promote the products to their customers and consumers. They are very open and willing to cooperate with many different producers and seek to find new Brands to support in hopes of keeping this Local Food tradition more personally connected to Lancastrians.

In addition to the wide assemblance of organic local food they also have a lot of beauty products, cleaning supplies, and extra around the house items. Some of their products featured are:

Christina Maser

This local business was established in 1990 when a companion of Gretchen’s (who is better known as Christina) taught her to make her very own jam. Because of the interest in making more the jam making led to bigger things. Those bigger things included gardening. From growing her own produce, Christina spark her imagination which somehow led to soap making. In following with this already hard to link path, the soap making inevitably led to candle making. The products range from a wide selection of goods. Christina Maser has three different sections to her fruitful business. Soy wax Candels, Bath and Body products, and a huge selection of jam’s, sauces, and spices create the collection that is Christina Maser’s Pantry.

Daisy Organic Flours

Daisy Flour was first milled in Lancaster County in 1890, it was when four local grocers came together to manufacture flour from local grain for their customers that the product became what it is today. Now Daisy Organic Flours are milled in the historic Annville Flouring Mill, which has been in operation since 1740, using grain grown on regional farms. Daisy Organic Flours are milled using the old fashion flouring process on century old roller mills. The slow flouring process and lower operating temperatures retain many naturally occurring nutrients and starches that are lost to the higher temperatures of modern processing equipment

Natural By Nature

Natural Dairy Product Corporation (NDPC) was started in 1994 by Ned MacArthur and his father Norman. Ned had quit milking cows a year earlier because of low milk prices and the frustration that there was no system by which farmers could sell milk organically. Ned and Norman then teamed up with four organic dairy farmers in Lancaster County and created a whole system where grass-fed organic milk could be produced, transported, processed and packaged, independent of the vast, volume based milk industry. Strict adherence to organic principles and a dedication to high quality were the rules, which Ned, Norman and the farmers demanded of each other.

The background behind what these animals go through is this: “Cows are meant to eat grass, not grain. Pastured cows are healthier and less stressed. At NDP, we strive to make fresh pasture the main diet for our cows. Our farmers own and operate small family farms in Lancaster County, PA. Together they form LOFCO, the Lancaster Organic Farmers Cooperative, which is committed to producing organic, grass-fed milk.

The milk from grass-fed cows contains higher levels of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) than that of cows fed grain. CLA is an Omega 6 Fatty Acid, which studies have shown, helps in disease protection. Grass-fed milk naturally contains higher levels of Beta-carotene, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E because grass itself contains more of these nutrients than grain. Consuming grass-fed dairy products is a way to ensure the supply of these important nutrients in your daily diet.”

Amaranth Gluten-Free Bakery

Bread from this business is made specifically from as much whole grain as possible. The sweetness of the bread is introduced only by honey that is natural extracted. They mix their own flour blend every week that is made from whole grain flours such as Brown Rice, Millet, Amaranth, and Coconut. A little tapioca and arrowroot starch is added to the mix to give allow the proper consistency for rising. The idea for all of this arose from the mind of the owner and baker herself.

“One of the great perks about my job is meeting my customers. People are always curious about how I got started in the Gluten-Free bakery business. Am I a celiac? No. But I understand and value the importance of good nutrition. It all started back in the summer of 2008 when I was working at a local holistic doctor's office (Sheehan Chiropractic) and teaching Ayurvedic cooking classes on the side. I saw client after client come in with unexplained health concerns that just didn't seem to get better. It was typically recommended at the office that the person cut out all wheat and sugar for a few weeks and see how they feel. Well, the results were amazing! Migraines got better, digestion improved and people simply had more energy. The one complaint, however, the I would hear over and over again was that there wasn't "good bread" out there. Especially not one with any nutrition.

Well, this sparked an idea for a business. I wanted to create baked goods for all those GF folks out there that provided some real nutrition and was something that you could feel good about giving your kids. It took a lot of research into all those wonderful GF grains and a lot of experimentation with flour blends, baking times, and all sorts of other little "tricks" that you must learn when baking without gluten - and I gotta say that I'm still learning! I do bake a few sweet indulgences (chocolate cream cheese cupcakes being my personal favorite), but I try to keep even the treats as healthy as possible by eliminating refined sugar and only using Sucanat, molasses and honey as sweeteners. “ Kristen Ippolito, owner & baker

STRONG SKIN SAVVY CREAM

These products contain lanolin, which displays emollient, penetrating, and emulsifying properties. Also, soybean oil is added to give skin a smoother, and softener feel and look. One of nature’s most youthful secrets, beeswax is in this cream. The beeswax is an antioxidant that eagerly absorbs moisture and retains it in the skin keeping skin looking flawless. With the introduction of vitamin E the skin is able to heal better. The antioxidants within are what aids the cells of your skin in healing. Many of the creams come with a special scent. They are available in a choice of Lavender or Lemon essential plant oils. Lemon is an analgesic with antibacterial, sedative, cleansing, and calming properties.

This business is based out of Lancaster County and was created in 1985 by nurses. The main goal was to find a way to fill a need for a product line that could be safely used on healthy skin as well as skin that is wounded, sensitive, and did not respond to available products. Victoria Strong, RN, ET over the course of more than a decade saw patients whose skin care needs ranged from sometimes quite basic to a agitated, extremely complex. When her search became overwhelmingly disappointing due to the lack of optimal results sought after from "high tech" skin care products readily available at the hospital. Thus, soon came her product line that brought simple, natural, healthy skin care products that is great for a wide variety of demographics. Anywhere from skin care for men, women, and children. Every product can be shipped directly from the factory to the consumer. Ordering is available for those customers across the United States.

Gerhart Coffee Company

This Coffee company has been Lancaster’s premier coffee roaster Since 1880. Gerhart Coffee offers the usual, regular and decaffeinated coffees but the secret lies in the way it is produced. Whether it is caffinated or decaffeinated, both styles begin with the FINEST ARABICA BEANS, that are cleverly roasted to the best quality. After traveling through the roaster the beans are cooled, ground and packaged in a modern processing facility. This process is pretty standard. Now the most important part, Gerhart Coffee does not deal with any middle man. The coffee consumers get are shipped directly from their facility. This mean that each bag of coffee is readily available and not just sitting in a warehouse waiting for someone to come along and load it into a truck. With Gerhart's fast, dependable delivery the coffee found in local grocers is always stocked to a minimum to guarantee the freshest cup of fine quality coffee, every day all year.

Pequea Valley Farms

Pequea Valley Farm is a small Amish farm with approximately 25 milking Jersey cows. In 2000, Mr. Abner King invested his time and money into a creamery with batch pasteurizer, cheese vat, and cup-filling machine to produce a wide variety of natural products. These products include yogurts, spreads, and soft cheeses. For consumers the most exciting of the products created was the excellent Double Cream Yogurt Cheese, which has generated lots of attention for the Pequea Valley Farm.

WildForSalmon

WildforSalmon is owned and operated by Steve and Jenn Kurian of Bloomsburg, PA. WildforSalmon is a local business that makes fresh/frozen wild Alaskan sockeye salmon available at a common good price. Steve and Jenn are the fisherman, and distributors so they are able to keep their product quality high. Supplying markets with only the best personally caught fish. The idea started in 2002 when the couple set out on an adventure in Alaska. Their adventure soon turned into a lucrative business when they realized the benefits and excellent nutrition packed into these salmon. The Kurians’ have recently seen an increase in profits by over 20% and were able to purchase their own fishing boat and permits for Bristol Bay, Ak. Their crew consists of a few people from Pa who embark on a five to seven week fishing adventure. Salmon is a great source of Omega-3 with rich dietary possibilities.

The products mentioned above are only a few of the wonderful sustainable, organic, and “green” quality goods that are available at Expressly Local Foods. Of course it does not stop there either. In addition to supplying the freshest, most abundantly healthy foods, Cheryl and Kharran provide their customers with recipes for created delicious meals that extract the greatest benefits to offer their families with a truly local treats. Another feature of this business is the in-store demonstrations that happen. Recently there has been a woman from Gursha's Organic Ethiopian Edibles who came in to prepare meals for customers. Etayehu Gursha comes on Wednesdays from 4-7 pm and Saturdays from 9am-2 pm to serve the food hot. If customers are able to bring their own containers they will receive one free injera for their readymade take-home meal.

Expressly Local is a one stop shop for everything organic, and sustainable. The hours are regular, and the service is unbelievable. Just stop in and someone will be more than willing to give a tour and describe everything one needs to know about living a healthier more sustainable lifestyle.

Expressly Local Food is now officially open at 213 W. King St. Lancaster, PA 17603.

Hours of operation through 2009:

Monday- Friday 7:45-7:00,

1st Fridays till 9,

Saturday 7:45-6:00,

Sunday 9:00-2:00.

Here is some advice from the owners themselves:

We're on the left hand side of W. King St. between Mulberry and Water Streets-- across from McDonalds. There is metered parking on our side of the street Monday-Friday; you do not need to put any money in meters on weekends, and we think meters are not checked after 5pm week days. There are blocks of Mulberry, Water, and King Streets that have unlimited free parking or limited "Permit Parking". Permit parking means that you may park for a specified amount of time, usually 2 hours and then you must move your vehicle. Meter Maids place a chalk mark on one of your tires, mark the time, and come back two hours later to see if you've overstayed the limit so they can write a ticket. There are also parking lots, garages, and new to the city, "Muni-meters". A muni-meter is a machine on a pole. There will be a number painted on the street to indicate the space number, which you must enter into the machine along with quarters or a debit/credit card. You can pay for more time at other muni-meters if take your ticket with you so you have the space number. Street cleaning is indicated on signs-- and in very small print may say, for example, "1st and 3rd Mondays" even though the larger letters say 'no parking Mondays' for a period of 3 hours-- so read signs carefully. Ask us when you come in and we may be able to direct you to more parking options-- it's a project in progress.

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