The North Star Food Hub is place where consumers and wholesale buyers can centrally purchase local foods from North Country farmers and food producers. The food hub’s website allows buyers to order seasonal fruits and vegetables, herbs, dairy products such as yogurt or cheese, beef, poultry products, lamb, maple syrup, honey, and more from the comfort of their homes and offices. All items are clearly identified by the farm or producer that offers them. Consumers can pick up their orders every Friday at one of many pickup locations in Jefferson and Lewis County. Locations include Zoo New York in Watertown, Old McDonald’s Farm in Sackets Harbor, West Martinsburg Mercantile in Lowville, the North Country Welcome Center in Alexandria Bay, and more. Delivery is free to wholesale buyers (such as restaurants and retailers) if they are within the food hub’s service area.
For those wanting even better deals on local products, the North Star Food Hub pre-packs seasonal bags of fruit and vegetables, which are sold at a fixed price. Every week is a surprise! The selection of products in the bags change depending upon what is in season, what is fresh, and what represents the best value to consumers. Also offered is a bag containing breakfast products and another containing locally produced snack items.
The purpose of the food hub is to help strengthen the North Country’s economy by keeping money spent on food local. This helps to strengthen our local farms and producers, ensuring that they remain financially viable. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County administers this community initiative, but shares the effort through a number of partnerships. A newly formed non-profit organization, North Star Food Hub, Inc., supports the food hub’s producer driven local foods mission. Black River Valley Foods, has been contracted to manage the day to day operational aspects of this business.
In 2015, Cornell University’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension educators in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Lewis, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence Counties, performed an analysis of opportunities for food hub development in Northern New York. Their report helped spark this project. In 2016, New York State’s Agriculture and Markets launched this food hub initiative across Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, and Oswego counties. State Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, who was chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, secured the funding.
Last updated January 4, 2021