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  • Writer's pictureRepublic Food Enterprise Center

Are you wondering how you can support local farmers right now?

Am I not doing that by buying the locally grown food at my grocery store?

Sure those items are labeled as local, but do you actually know where they came from? Republic Food Enterprise Center is a non-profit food hub that works directly with farmers to sell to the consumer that works to bridge the gap between the farm and market. They work to bring this fresh produce to grocery stores, farmers markets and the Fayette County Food Bank. Republic Food Enterprise Center knows each of the farmers they work with by name. From the person who plants the seed to who delivers it, they know them by name.

Working within a 300 mile radius, Republic Food Enterprise Center works with farmers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Ohio. Some of the farms to keep an eye out for that Republic Food Enterprise Center works to help are: Redrange Farms, JP’S Farmers Market, Hanies Farming and Meat Processing, Jackson Farms. Langley Farms, Hilty Showpigs Hidden Acres Farm, Christner Farm, Mountain Fresh Co-op and Emerick’s Maple.

Has the pandemic affected these farmers?

Absolutely. That is why it is more important now more than ever to help these local farmers out. COVID-19 has slowed a ton of business down for these farms, especially with restaurants being closed. Many restaurants purchase their produce from local farmers and while they have all been closed, they demand for these goods has gone down. It has also caused farmers to have an abundance of produce that they could not get rid of. One of Republic Food Enterprise Center’s partners could not sell strawberries as fast as normal so they almost got stuck throwing a bunch away. Republic Food Enterprise Center stepped in and froze them so they could be sold through even the winter.

Not only did this hurt who they were selling to for eating purposes, one of the farms sells pumpkins to Kennywood and Idlewild every year for Halloween which is a huge part of their revenue, and with those parks being closed they can’t sell nearly as much as they usually would. This pandemic has not only hurt the businesses we see in store fronts all the time, but also the ones behind the scenes.

This pandemic changed the way I spend money. Are these fresh products expensive?

These products are going to be a bit more expensive than any product that comes from mass production. Well that sounds daunting, spending the extra dollar is worth it. We asked Joe Ambrose, the general manager of Republic Food Enterprise Center why he feels spending the extra dollar is worth it and he said, “A dollar spent in your community, stays in your community.”

This extra dollar could do more than you might think. Spending the money to support these businesses can help create jobs locally or even keep a salary for someone in your community.

Not only does this help create and keep jobs, but it also is a great way to make sure you’re feeding yourself with the best products. Republic Food Enterprise Center knows where these products come from and work to make sure they go from farm to your table. Produce that is fresh is the best for your body.

Not only does Republic Food Enterprise Center work to move these products into markets, they will also do what they can to not waste any. They will jar or can products for these farmers or they will use them for recipes of their own that you can buy.

So what exactly should I expect from shopping from Republic Food Enterprise Center?

Reaping the benefits of farm to table, knowing exactly what you’re eating and supporting your local economy. Plus, there's more to it than just the fresh produces and meats. Republic Food Enterprise Center makes nine different types of barbeque or wing sauces, seven rubs for meat and vegetables, bloody mary mix, apple butter, pickle beets and salsa. These products are made inhouse and with all fresh ingredients.

We encourage you now more than ever to help the local community through purchasing fresh, local produce.

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