While I was writing the story on the new Merriam-Webster dictionary words I did several experiments with the new words. One of the words I experimented with — locavore — lead me to this great story about a database of over 15,000 growers around the country on a website built by Dan Sutton. His database, LocavoreNetwork, was launched in mid-May and is available at http://www.locavorenetwork.com/.
There’s actually a lot going on on this front page, with information on food safety, some forums (not very active), recommended books and resources for various kinds of gardening, and information on selecting and storing fruits and vegetables. What you’re looking for is the State Information tab, which will take you to http://www.locavorenetwork.com/content/state-information. You’ll still have to use the tab to choose the state whose farms you want to review.
I chose North Carolina. There’s actually two parts to this. First is an “availability guide” that shows you when various fruits and vegetables (from apples to watermelon) are in season. (Hey, where’s the zucchini? Where’s the okra?) The second is the “North Carolina Growers and Producers” section, which is a table (sortable by busines name or county) that show the business name, county, and what they grow, whether it be produce, meat, dairy, manufactured products, or wine (yes, there are wineries listed in this database.)
You can also search the database for various products. Each grower has its own page of details that you can get to by clicking on its name. The details vary a lot; Cane Creek Farm, for example, will give you everything including a full address, phone number, and Web site, while other listings like Green Toe Ground don’t even offer a phone number.
I honestly didn’t think I’d like this site with the way the information is divided by state. But the table is so well-organized and easy to search, and the availability charts so handy (if a bit incomplete) that I’m really impressed. If you’re at all interested in local farming check out this site. If you’re in the US, at least take a quick gander at the availability guide for your state.