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April 29, 2011. PEC Press Release


For immediate release:

April 29, 2011


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Communications Specialist, PEC

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Buy Fresh Buy Local Manager, PEC



Caromont Farm

As the spring growing season gets underway, the Piedmont Environmental Council’s (PEC) Buy Fresh Buy Local guides are arriving at every home in Albemarle, Charlottesville and Greene—with over 150 listings of places where people can buy locally grown food. Among the listings are 64 local farms, 13 orchards, 24 restaurants, 16 grocers and 7 caterers in a five-county area surrounding Charlottesville. Listings in the guides have almost doubled in the last five years.

“The local food movement in this area is growing rapidly,” says Jessica Palmer, who managed the 2011 Buy Fresh Buy Local guides. “That’s not only a positive economic trend for local businesses, but it’s good news for rural landscapes and families who want to find fresh, healthy food.”

Since the first Buy Fresh Buy Local guide came out in 2007, listings have increased from approximately 80 to over 150 businesses. In this period, the number of farmers markets in the area has leaped from 8 to 12. And the Charlottesville City Market has seen record-breaking sales, bringing in over $1 million during each of the last three seasons.

This year’s guide puts out the word that at three markets in Charlottesville, people can use debit cards and EBT cards (electronic banking cards for low-income customers) to obtain market tokens. Lucy Lamm, Assistant Market Master with the City of Charlottesville, says, “Since the markets started accepting the cards last year, it has made a difference across all class categories. People know that they can use their cards there, rather than just at the grocery store.”


Farms, Restaurants & Tourism

Promoting local tourism as well as agriculture, the guide includes a Travel Guide to the region’s picturesque orchards, as well as participating wineries and breweries. It also features profiles of two local food businesses—Caromont Farm, where Gail Hobbs-Page produces artisanal cheeses from goats’ milk and cows’ milk, and Revolutionary Soup, a downtown restaurant that uses delicious, local ingredients for affordable lunchtime fare.

Profile of Caromont Farm – Includes links to great photos of owner Gail Hobbs-Page along with baby goats, adult goats and cheese.
Profile of Revolutionary Soup – Includes links to great photos of owner Will Richey at his farm and at his restaurant.

When PEC launched the Charlottesville Area Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter in 2007, it was the first chapter in Virginia. The program has since caught on, with 10 chapters throughout Virginia. PEC sponsors four of these chapters, sending Buy Fresh Buy Local guides to every home in its nine-county region—about 240,000 homes altogether.

More on PEC’s Local Farms and Food program

Buy Fresh Buy Local is part of a multifaceted effort by PEC to promote local farms and preserve farmland. Among these efforts:

  • PEC works to preserve farmland through private land conservation. Currently, about 31,100 acres of prime farm soils in Albemarle and 2,700 acres of prime farm soils in Greene are protected.
  • PEC’s Exploring the Small Farm Dream courses, in Charlottesville and Warrenton, guide participants through a decision-making process about starting a farm-related business. 
  • PEC’s Hosting the Small Farm Dream seminars help to connect landowners with aspiring farmers who need land.
  • PEC’s Farm to Chef Directory links local growers with local restaurants.
  • Events like Meet the Farmer Dinners, the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello and the Eat Local Challenge increase appreciation of local food.


Download the 2011 Charlottesville Area Food Guide PDF

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