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New index ranks Vermont tops in locally grown food

As more people seek local foods, the question arises: How far should one go for that tomato? By The Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) ' A new index ranks Vermont No. 1 in its commitment to raising and eating locally grown food.

The ranking is based on the number of farmers markets and community supported agriculture programs per state resident. In CSAs, customers pay a lump sum up front and receive weekly deliveries of produce during harvest seasons.

According to the Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index, Vermont has 99 farmers markets and 164 CSAs for fewer than 622,000 people.

The other top states on the list are Iowa, Montana, Maine and Hawaii.

Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, Arizona and, surprisingly, Florida ranked at the bottom.

Florida produces much of the nation's citrus, strawberries and tomatoes, but the index says it has only 146 farmers markets and 193 CSAs for 18.5 million people.

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