Food hubs offer local food aggregation and distribution with convenient online ordering and invoicing, for schools and other institutions.
Puget Sound Food Hub has three aggregation sites: 21 Acres in Woodinville, Bow Hill Blueberries in Bow, and Cloud Mountain Farm Center in Everson. Sign up on the website to easily purchase food on-line from local farms, and have it delivered to your school.
- Puget Sound Fresh App is a free mobile app offering quick and easy access to a growing list of farms and farmers markets, farm products and activities in Washington State.
- San Juan Island County Food & Farm Map is produced by the San Juan Islands Agricultural Network, which is dedicated to preserving and promoting agriculture.
- Whatcom Food & Farm Finder is an online and printed directory of farms and food businesses in Whatcom County (and some in Skagit County) produced by Sustainable Connections. Sustainable Connections works to promote local food and connect food and farming businesses of all kinds.
- Whidbey Island Farm Map and Guide is a brochure highlighting farms and farmers markets on Whidbey Island.
Find out when products are in season in your area.
- Washington Grown Vegetable Seasonality Chart
- Washington Grown Fruits, Legume, and Herbs Seasonality Chart
- Puget Sound Fresh
Purchasing and Procurement
- A School’s Guide to Purchasing Washington-Grown Food is designed for school food service personnel to help clarify the rules about applying a geographic preference in procurement of Washington-grown foods for school meal programs.
- USDA Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables: Washington is one of eight states participating in the USDA Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables. This project enables school districts to use their USDA entitlement funds to purchase locally grown unprocessed products from USDA-approved vendors, including produce that has been sliced, diced, chopped, washed, frozen or dried. The WSDA’s farm to school team and OSPI’s Food Distribution Program are available to help school districts determine how much entitlement they would like to set aside, connect with local vendors, and navigate procurement procedures.
- The USDA webpage on Purchasing and Procurement offers a wealth of documents, toolkits, and resources to facilitate purchasing local foods including this guide to procuring local foods for child nutrition programs.
In Washington State, the peak of the harvest is in the summer when school is not in session. “Fifth Season” refers to processing and freezing bountiful local foods in season for use during the school year when these foods are not in season. For example, The Orcas Island Farm to Cafeteria Program arranges for several Island farms to deliver hundreds of pounds of freshly-picked organic fruits, vegetables and herbs to the school kitchen in late summer. A team of dedicated volunteers then slice, dice, peel, process and freeze the produce to be used in school meals during the coming school year. They also procure apples, pears and potatoes that are put in cold storage.
- Video about Orcas Island’s Farm to Cafeteria Program Fifth Season
- Tips for Implementing a “Fifth Season” at Your School