Supporting Local Business

Local Hero

Local Purchasing at Amherst College

Amherst College values the hard work and quality contributions of our local Farmers, Seafarers, Ranchers and Producers. Last year over half of our purchases were made through relationships within 150 miles of the college. We will continue to work on developing more of these quality relationships in years to come. Amherst College is also a member of CISA’s (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) Local Hero Campaign.  

The addition of the Book and Plow Farm to our program has had a tremendous impact to the quality and diversity of our produce.

Amherst College Dining Services, in the spirit of continued support of our local community, works cooperatively with shelters, charities and survival centers, to provide donated food throughout the year. We have had excellent relationships for many years with these different organizations and will continue to in the many years to come.

A Few of The Local Businesses We Support

Black River - North Springfield VT                                                                          Black River Logos

Black River Produce and Meats are our local partners out of Vermont. Black River is a socially responsible company with great respect and gratitude for the people and land of Vermont, striving to make continuous green and energy –conscious improvements. Black River has relationships with over 200 local farms and works with numerous partners across New England and New York.

With strict food safety and animal welfare standards, Black River is committed to providing the best, local and natural meats. Animals are raised in humane environments and beef is always raised without any antibiotics or added growth hormones.

At Amherst College, we purchase numerous items from Black River including beef, pork, fish and seafood, Greek yogurt from “Green Mountain Creamery”, oats and granola from “Grandy Oats”, jams from “Side Hill Farm”, sauces from “Chef Myron’s Sauces” and fresh cut fruit, to name a few. These products are found in Val and in our menus daily….

Organic, Vermont raised ground beef is used in our Bolognese sauce.

Heritage pork is used in the Pernil al Horno, smoked pork loin, chorizo and andouille sausage.

Fresh fish and seafood is picked up by Black River at Boston’s Seafood Market five times a week to make sure the freshest fish is distributed while supporting the local fishing community. This is the fish and seafood we use for our “Fresh Catch of the Day” as well as numerous dishes enjoyed in Val.

The Book & Plow Farm - Amherst, MA

Squash Produce - Belchertown, MA

Sid-Wainer & Sons - New Bedford, MA

Warm Colors Apiary - South Deerfield, MA

Misty Knoll Farm - New Haven, VT

North East Family Farms, New England & NY

Sun Coffee Roasters - Plainville, CT

Hall Poultry - Pelham, MA

Little Pond Flower Farm - Belchertown, MA

Myron's Fine Foods - Millers Falls, MA

Ragged Hill Orchard - West Brookfield, MA

North Hadley Sugar Shack - Hadley, MA

GrandyOats - Hiram, ME

GrandyOats will be the first net zero food production facility in New England! Read about it here.


Why Buy Local Food?

A commitment to buying locally grown food is a powerful gesture to the larger community.

Support the Local Community, Economy, and Farmers

  • Local food supports local families. When we buy directly from farmers or local distributors, that money remains in the region and helps farm families continue farming their land.
  • Purchasing directly from these businesses builds community as connections are established and grow.
  • Local food is an investment in our future. Buying local helps preserve the strength and character of our community and the working landscape for future generations.

Local Food is High-Quality and Healthful

  • Local food is of better quality as it shortens the time between farm and your plate. Fresh produce begins to lose nutritional value after harvest.
  • Local food is safer. With all the issues related to food safety, there’s an assurance that comes from looking a farmer in the eye, or passing the fields where your food comes from. Small-scale local farmers are not part of the industrial food system that creates and spreads potential contaminants.

Locally Grown Food is an Environmentally Sound Choice

  • In the present food system, food travels an average of over 1,300 miles from farm to table. Purchasing locally grown food reduces oil use and air pollution.
  • Local food growing practices benefit the environment and wildlife because farmers live close to the land. Decisions about farming are made by people who are in tune with the natural world, and who care about the land they work and the food they produce. Massachusetts farms encompass a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, streams and ponds that provide essential habitat for wildlife.
  • Maintaining farm land preserves open space. Just under 10% of Massachusetts’ 564,000 acres of farmland are permanently protected, so by supporting farming we can keep it a viable industry to keep the land in agriculture and prevent non-productive and unattractive developments.
  • Local food preserves genetic diversity. In industrial agriculture, plants are bred for the ability to ripen uniformly, withstand harvesting, survive packing and last a long time on the shelf, leaving our food supply vulnerable to disease or disaster. Smaller local farms often grow many different varieties to provide a longer season, an array of colors, and superior flavor.