As we become a nation of “foodies” interested in purchasing and consuming locally produced food, it’s fortunate that we live on the North Shore, where both farm-to-table and ocean-to-table businesses are thriving. Local Food is a cluster without a specific industry classification, but one with a wide embrace that ranges from small organic farms to Gloucester’s well-known fishing industry and from local breweries to food manufacturers shipping around the world. And that’s not to mention the hundreds of clam shacks, sub shops, taverns and gourmet restaurants that dot the region.
Local Food is the newest of the North Shore’s defined business clusters, as several current developments illustrate. A workshop on the local food industry drew such a positive response that the Enterprise Center at Salem State University formed a special interest group that now boasts 500+ members.
- 3500+ businesses, including restaurants
- 390 restaurant and bars have revenues exceeding $250,000, forming one of biggest groups of Essex County business in that revenue category.
- Nearly 700 agricultural, fishing, or food manufacturing businesses
- More than 8,300 employees
- 20 farmers markets and CSAs in Essex County
- North Shore Community College is introducing a sustainable food program studies in nutrition, horticulture, environment, culinary art and food science and hospitality.
- Local college professors have addressed what is a major issue for small food producers: distribution. They developed a free software app that connects producers, distributors and even end purchasers