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About FreshLocal

FreshLocal, the new food store just coming on the scene in downtown Bremerton at 540 Fourth Street, is a community driven marketing concept, all about serving the people who live and work in the relatively small area where we conduct our daily lives, and meeting their basic needs, right now and as we move into the future, with a sustainable system for generating and distributing wholesome and nourishing food.

People know that they want fresh, local food, and they know why they want it.  They can smell and taste the goodness of it.  They respond instinctively to the vitality inherent in food that’s very close to its source.  More and more, people who never engaged in gardening before are trying it out, and reveling in their successes, but as a community we are still far short of having enough food to satisfy the demand for it.

Luckily, there are people who have chosen food production as their profession, and it’s also very lucky that these people love what they do, because farming is a very hard job (and here I’m talking about actual plowing and planting and tending and harvesting farming, not the giant corporate jet set variety, but they don’t live here anyway), and as a livlihood, the returns are sadly small.

There is a reason for this.  In the non-local mode of farming, the harvest travels through many hands before it arrives on your table.  Every hand, the consolidator, the processor, the cold storage operator, the packaging manufacturer, the distributor, the trucker and the retailer takes a profit from the food, and every day that passes as the food travels from hand to hand, detracts from its quality, often incorporating foreign substances (such as preservatives, flavorings, extenders, don’t even think about it), and adds more to its cost.

In that system, the farmer gets less than a dime of every dollar the food consumer spends.  No wonder farming is so hard!  As a result of this there are pitifully few farmers left in this country, and of those still hanging on, the vast majority need to have off the farm jobs to survive.

Here is where FreshLocal comes in.  It is a food store generated by local farmers as a market for local food, where the store is the one and only step between farm and table.  Furthermore, the store is organized as a non-profit, so that only the actual cost of operating the store is added to the amount paid to the farmers.  Right away, the farmers share of food dollars spent jumps by many dimes.

Then here’s the next step.  It’s still hard to farm, and with the ever-increasing vagaries and uncertainties of weather, we farmers can never be sure of getting it right, but with a prospect of a decent return on our effort, we can think of staying on our farms instead of leaving.  We can think of growing more next year to reach into the expanded market, and even better, we can entice and encourage young people who have the love for the soil and the life processes that surround us as farmers to take the risk, to step up and choose farming for their future.  We all better hope that happens a lot, because the average age of current farmers is very much in the upper reaches, and when we go, well, you can figure it out.

And here’s the next step.  By shopping at FreshLocal, the community says yes! we value the effort it took to bring this food to us.  And we value the food itself, and know how different it is from what the grocery chains have to offer.  But the most important thing is that at FreshLocal, the community sees faces and not boxes, and the faces are farmers as well as customers.  As we proceed, the groups will blend more and more, goals will merge, friendships will blossom, and the web of mutual support will uphold us all.  Now when is the last time you saw a store do that?!

We certainly won’t have everything you’re used to finding in grocery stores at FreshLocal.  We won’t have chips and energy drinks or even bottled water (although we will brew our excellent coffee with filtered water).  We will have very little processed food of any kind, with the exception of some wonderful value-added products produced locally and quite recently.  Our aim is to have enough variety to support a wholesome varied and tasty diet.  We don’t think you’ll never shop in another store, but we think that you could do pretty well with just ours.  Less is more.  That’s one of those phrases people say and sound wise.  Sometimes it’s true.

We like to think that FreshLocal entering the Bremerton scene is a good thing.  That is certainly our intention, and we pledge to work hard to make that happen.

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