A letter from Cheryl,
I am an inveterate urban dweller and confess to having been estranged from nature most of my life. An unforeseen outcome of my 4 years of hunting and gathering for Expressly Local has been awakening to what is available locally.
The relative shortness of each and every fruit and vegetable's season has been sobering. How spoiled we've become by the supermarket, where we can find asparagus in the fall and citrus whenever we want it. We lose touch with what is outside and available for the taking.
There are so many sound reasons to eat what is grown locally. Most are well known to anyone reading this; the converts to the locally grown, sustainable, slow food paradigm. When did you realize the woeful effects on the environment from food shipped thousands of miles? Was it before you recognized the economic impact on local growers posed by the large food corporations that control most of what is grown and distributed in the world? More likely you came the route of wanting to eat nutritious, unadulterated food. This paramount concern had spear-headed the organic food movement over 50 years ago.
I confess mine was the nutrition path, but the larger awareness came when I moved to Lancaster, PA and saw this local cornucopia spread before me! Why was I ever in a Supermarket? It was because I was spoiled and wanted to eat what I wanted any time I wanted it. How things have changed for me. Out of season produce, shipped thousands of miles, just doesn't taste right! So follow your taste buds, we have them for a reason.
It has been nearly two and a half years since Expressly Local opened at 213 West King Street in Downtown Lancaster City. From October 31, 2009, until now, I have been so preoccupied with running the store (which often feels like breaking a wild horse), that I have been struggling to keep up with our community of well wishers, which currently numbers over 400.
--Cheryl Young; Owner of Expressly Local
How Expressly Local Came to Be:
Four years ago Cheryl Young ran stands at several summer markets and wondered where people go after the markets close? Envisioning a one stop, year-round shop for locally produced food was something she valued. The first slogan was “Local Food for Local Folk”.
In addition to the convenience of having local food and products under one roof, we trusted many would welcome the fact that we vouch for the methods our farmers use. We offer not just local, but healthy food. Transparency is an ever increasing value, along with traceability. We identify all our producers and their methods. I consider this the greatest value in our part of the food distribution chain.
The food we sell, while not always certified organic, is not sprayed with chemicals and is grown using sustainable methods. Our growers are all small diversified farms; ironically, organic farms require so much documentation they are rarely diversified. Locally grown food without organic certification is also far more affordable. Another goal was to charge supermarket prices, not health store prices.
Our Amish farmers benefit because we pick up at the farm, paying an agreed upon price, and taking all they grow for us. We prepare for the growing season during the Winter months, pouring over heirloom seed catalogues and selecting the best varieties. We are with our growers from seed to harvest, which is how we can vouch for what we sell.
Word spread quickly among the Amish; many wanted to grow for Expressly Local and usually called Cheryl around 6:00AM. We currently buy from seven Samuel Stoltzfuses, six Katie Stoltzfuses, and an array of Lapps, Fishers, and Beilers.
Thanks to two different Sam Stoltzfuses (one in Little Britain, the other in White Horse) over the Winter we will have locally grown produce: Chard, Spinach, Kale, Mesclun Mix, Lettuces, etc. We will also continue to offer organic produce from the Four Seasons' Organic catalog.
All our beef is grass fed, Eberly Poultry is our sole source of chicken, and Farm Fromage (a.k.a Howard Field) has expanded our cheese offerings. Over the Winter season we will have a wide variety of quality local products to choose from.
If you haven't been in recently or ever, we know you will be impressed by the wide array of local food we have assembled.