Eschewing exotic fruits shipped from far away, some of his customers were developing a preference for locally grown food, and Barry, who sells a variety of produce boxes directly to consumers, decided to jump on the bandwagon.
In late December, he launched the “dogma box” a crate containing seasonal produce sourced as close to Boston as possible as a salute to the importance of supporting small local farmers and sustainable agriculture.
“There is a lack of local supply because there isn’t enough demand,” said Barry, 40, a Peace Corps veteran with a master’s degree in environmental economics, explaining that New England’s winter isn’t entirely to blame for the fact that less than 5 percent of the food Massachusetts residents eat is grown in-state.
For now, “seasonal” implies an abundance of root vegetables and apples.
Last week, 50 boxes were delivered to homes and offices in the Boston area, down from a high of 75 in early January. Barry said he suspects the limited winter selection is getting monotonous.
“If we make a commitment to farmers that we’ll buy what they grow, they’ll have the confidence to invest in technology like root storage and hot houses, and we can have year-round variety,” he said.
Barry isn’t the only player in the New England food chain to notice a growing demand for local food. With food sanitation scares, high gas prices last summer, the obesity epidemic, and writers like Michael Pollan (who exposed the global agribusiness), buzzwords like localvore, slow food, and community supported agriculture have become more popular.