Lincoln Extension creates online resource for locally grown food

LINCOLN COUNTY, Ore. –  When you're traveling east on Yachats River Road and see the sign for the covered bridge, it's hard to miss Forks Farm.

“If you turn left to go to the North Fork Yachats River Covered Bridge, you go right past my front yard," said owner Catherine Lucido.

Lucido sells vegetables and blueberries that she grows on her 26-acre farm. Fresh-cut flowers are also a cornerstone of her operation. She cultivates roses in her greenhouse that become centerpieces in floral arrangements.

Lucido was recently contacted by Pami Monnette with the Oregon State University Extension Service, who wanted to include Forks Farm in a new online Lincoln County Local Food guide. Lucido didn’t hesitate.

“I was happy to do it,” she said. “It’s a great idea.”

Since the website went live, Lucido has received a couple of calls from people who’ve seen it and are interested in buying from her. She hopes other farms in Lincoln County get noticed, as well.

“We’re really tiny farms out here, but we’re still doing it,” she said.

Monnette had a local food guide on her planning list for a year. Then came March and the COVID-19 pandemic. Disruptions to the normal food supply chain made it imperative that Lincoln County residents had a resource to find locally grown food, she said.

“Restaurants were very limited, farmers markets were under threat of closing, and these local farmers were losing their usual markets,” said Monnette, Lincoln County Extension agriculture faculty.

“We needed something that was hyperlocal so that neighbors could connect with neighbors,” she said. “It’s a simple idea that can be replicated in other counties.”

The food guide features a growing list of Lincoln County producers who are doing direct sales, including farm stands, local food deliveries, U-pick, community supported agriculture (CSA), whole/half pastured animals, and on-dock sales. Geographically, the guide encompasses every corner of the county, from Newport to Lincoln City, from Waldport to Siletz.

“If they’re not at farmers markets or selling to restaurants, they just needed a little help to market their products directly to customers,” Monnette said. “This leads to a greater conversation, that these businesses should be a priority for economic recovery plans. The more we can tie these local businesses together, the stronger they can be. We can keep the food that’s grown in a region consumed in that region. It benefits the integrity of the food system.”

Monnette recently discussed the Lincoln County Local Food guide on the Lincoln County Connections radio program.

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