Farm stand helps link local growers, consumers

WESTPORT - An adventurous pair of local farmers are putting a new spin on the buy-local campaign.

DaCy Meadow Farm, owned and operated by David and Cynthia Johnston, raise British Heritage livestock for both milk and meat, but the rare breeds of cows and pigs are not the only things unique about this Westport farm.

About a month ago, the Johnstons opened the doors of their new farm stand, a building set up to market fresh foods grown and made by over a dozen different local producers. What makes this farm stand different is that those producers will receive 100 percent of the proceeds for their items.

"Any local food vendor who wants to can put their food here," explained David. The Johnstons and their staff attend to the shop, where they sell their own farm-raised, USDA-approved beef and pork alongside other locally produced food. Any money they collect from other vendors' products are passed entirely to that vendor with no shelving fees.

The farm benefits somewhat from the extra customers drawn by the wider selection of produce, but their decision to open up their market to other vendors for free stems mostly from a desire to facilitate the link between local buyers and local producers.

"The big problem in the local food movement is distribution," explained David, noting how few growers have the resources to man their own produce stands, let alone set up shop at farmers' markets on a regular basis. The DaCy Meadow Farm stand offers a place where the presentation and sale of the product is done for them.

"In essence, we're providing them a 30-hour-a-week farmers' market for free," said David. "We do not retail food here; we're simply a flow-through."

The farm stand markets anything made by a member of Adirondack Harvest, a community organization that helps farmers in seven New York counties market their food directly to consumers. So far, over a dozen vendors, most from Essex County, have placed their goods at DaCy Meadow.

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