hot cocoa cakeMake your money go further with @ilfarmfamilies

As part of my never-ending quest to make my dollars go further, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the value of supporting our local farmers. Here in Illinois, we are blessed to be surrounded by so many farms that produce a variety of different products from beef to pork, milk, corn, etc.

Buying these products supports farming families who strive to bring fresh ingredients to our kitchens everyday.  It also supports our communities where our children live, grow and thrive. And finally it reduces our carbon footprint, as local transportation and distribution require less gas and milage than sourcing foods from far away lands (I’m talking about you California :). So basically it’s a winning proposition all around! But here’s the problem, it’s wintertime which means there are no farmer markets, so how do we figure out which foods are locally grown?

Look no further than the Illinois Farm Bureau and their wonderfully rich website:  Illinois Partners. Here, you can find sweet and savory foods that are made in Illinois such as Eli’s CheesecakeLeepy’s Pickled Veggies and Two Fat Guys tomato sauce. I also learned about Market Maker, where you can go to the “find a business” box, add the product you are looking for and it will direct you to a  business that sells that product!  Ingenious!

Another cool thing I learned is that some well-known food brands such  Del Monte and Dean’s use Illinois farmed products. I’ve always loved Del Monte’s Sweet Corn but after reading this post by Illinois farmer Paul Taylor, I’m  an even bigger fan. How cool is it that it takes only a few  hours for the corn to go from the field to the can.  So this season as you bake you next batch of Cheddar Corn Muffins or whip up some buttercream frosting (to cover your super cute “hot cocoa cake”) let you dollars do double duty and buy local. xo

PS: I am working with the Illinois Farm Families to spread the word about Illinois farming. All opinions are my own!