Tis the season to harvest and reap the benefits of Mother Nature’s bounty! Apple, pear and plum trees are bending under the weight of their fruit, a cornucopia of squash is ready for plucking and corn is as high as a . . . well, you know. You don’t have to be a farmer or bide your time until the next Farmer’s Market to take advantage of this season of abundance. Several organizations exist around the Missoula area that are eager to match consumer with farmer.

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New to the local food scene, Missoula Community Food Exchange has yet to develop a website, yet their Facebook page is all you need. Local farmers with a surplus of goods can use this page to post their available crops while consumers can post their “needs”. Craving haricot vert beans? Clark Fork Organics has them. Need tarragon for that classic French dish? Contact Urban Herbs. The page also features news items about community food issues and foodie “happenings” around Missoula.

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Each Fall, the Great Bear Foundation leads “picking parties” as part of their Bears and Apples campaign. Fruit tree owners that lack the time and resources to glean their orchards get help from pickers looking for free and fresh fruit. This not only benefits those of use looking for a bushel of apples, but also keeps the bears out of the neighborhoods and therefore out of trouble. As a bonus, pickers have access to the foundation’s cider press! Read more on their website.

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Ripe Near Me is a budding website where growers can post their wares and those of us looking to buy local can find those growers. Just put in your town or zip code and you can find growers eager to sell eggs, apples, pears and other goodies.

Along the same lines, Local Harvest is another helpful website to find local farms, Farmer’s Markets and CSA opportunities in your area. Some, such as Urban Herbs even have a link allowing you to shop their products online.

Let us continue to strengthen Missoula County’s food system by taking advantage of these wonderful avenues for enjoying fresh food. Happy harvesting!

This blog post was written by Susie Wall, a dedicated CFAC volunteer. If you are interested in writing blog posts or other volunteer opportunities, please contact us today! 
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