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August 30, 2008

Go Local week urges residents to support local producers

Kathy and Rodney Hager are farmers first, and business owners second. And it shows in the quality of the beef they sell at their Sellersburg shop, Preferred Meats.

The Hagers supply much of the store’s beef with cattle from their Orange County farm, and what they don’t supply themselves they try to get from local farmers around Indiana.

“We’re the small guy on the block — we don’t try to compete with Jay C and Kroger,” Kathy said. “It’s a totally different program of quality and customer service.”

The beef the Hagers raise on the 600-head of cattle farm is hormone and antibiotic free.

And even with the economy slowing down, the Hagers’ business is steadily growing. Kathy said her customers want to support local producers. And that is exactly what the Purdue University Extension agency is trying to create more of with Go Local Indiana week, which starts today. Its aim is to get residents to support local businesses and producers, and the local economy — in addition to recognizing all the great things Indiana has to offer.

The farmers market in Jeffersonville and in Charlestown, stores like Preferred Meats in Sellersburg and the New Albanian Brewing Company in New Albany, and farms like Maggie Oster’s Rose Wind Farms, are all opportunities for residents to support local producers.

The New Albanian Brewing Company, which has been brewing beer locally in New Albany since 2002, is planning a second location in downtown New Albany. The new location will also be getting as much food from local producers as possible.

And with the farmers market just down the road, it shouldn’t be too difficult. The proximity of the market is one of the reasons the location was chosen, said co-owner Roger Baylor.

“(Buying local) is important for its own reasons, but it’s a selling point to,” Baylor said. “It keeps the money here. And it helps preserve something distinctive — life is not just about the best price.

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