2023’s Best Cities to Eat Local Food

Where in America can you easily find farm-fresh food?

To mark National Small Business Week starting April 30, LawnStarter ranked 2023’s Best Cities to Eat Local Food, compared the 200 biggest U.S. cities based on three categories.

LawnStarter looked for cities with great access to community-supported agriculture (CSAs), u-pick farms, local dairy farms, and on-farm markets. LawnStarter also considered the number of local food movement groups, among 17 metrics. Dig into our ranking below. To learn how LawnStarter ranked the cities, see our methodology.

Top 5 Close Up

Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of the top five cities.

No. 1: Portland, Oregon | Overall Score: 51.30

Access: 1
Convenience: 2
Support: 27

Local Tips: Laughing Planet Cafe uses local ingredients to craft globally inspired takes on burritos, soups, and salads.

With 40 locations across the Portland metro, Burgerville makes it easy to chomp down on fast food favorites with local origins.

For fancier fare, check out the seasonal menu at Arden, or book a table at “reverse steakhouse” G-Love.

Photo Credit: BXXXTY / Pexels / Pexels License

No. 2: Baltimore | Overall Score: 47.61

Access: 10
Convenience: 1
Support: 2

Local Tips: Baltimore supports farmers and locavores through the city’s Homegrown Baltimore initiative.

Residents can explore local options on the Baltimore Foodshed map.

Maggie’s Farm is a favorite farm-to-table spot for locals. Another option is Gertrude’s, which serves up a Chesapeake-inspired menu inside the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Photo Credit: Styves Exantus / Pexels / Pexels License

No. 3: Alexandria, Virginia | Overall Score: 47.5

Access: 2
Convenience: 18
Support: 4

Local Tips: Have a Parisian outing in Old Town Alexandria with a locally sourced meal at Bastille Brasserie & Bar.

Dine in an 1800s granary converted into an American-style tavern with seasonal fare at Virtue Feed & Grain.

Photo Credit: ALXCHO / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

No. 4: Washington | Overall Score: 43.03

Access: 13
Convenience: 26
Support: 1

Local Tips: Shop at a grocery store filled with local products at Dawson’s Market.

Find fresh and sustainably sourced ingredients at one of six Clyde’s locations across the DC metro area.

Discover other restaurants with a “Snail of Approval,” designated by Slow Food D.C.

Photo Credit: Pixabay / Pexels / Pexels License

No. 5: Minneapolis | Overall Score: 41.93

Access: 8
Convenience: 4
Support: 50

Local Tips: The city of Minneapolis encourages local dining through the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative.
Find local products and farm-to-table restaurants with the help of directories like Minnesota Grown and Minnesota Cooks.
Top spots for locavores include Wise Acre, The New York Times-approved Petite León, and Spoon and Stable, led by a James Beard Award-winning chef.

Photo Credit: BpA9543 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Farm-to-Fork: Key Insights

The Gist

Eating local is popular and convenient in many large cities along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Locavores also can thrive in Midwestern cities like Minneapolis (No. 5) and Madison, Wisconsin (No. 8), thanks to high access to community-supported agriculture and local farms offering delivery.

Many Texas cities fall behind in access to locally sourced food. Only six Lone Star cities place in the top half of our ranking: Austin (No. 54), Dallas (No. 63), McKinney (No. 77), Plano (No. 79), Denton (No. 94), and Frisco (No. 97). Meanwhile, seven Texas cities land in the bottom 10 — just behind Anchorage, Alaska, in last place.

Standout Stats

  • Land of Locavores: It’s no secret that Portlanders love local food. Portland, Oregon, takes first place overall with the best Access to local eats and the highest number of u-pick farms. The City of Roses also offers a high number of farm stands, on-farm markets, and craft breweries per square mile.
  • Atlantic Eats: Mid-Atlantic cities Baltimore (No. 2), Alexandria, Virginia (No. 3), and Washington (No. 4), sprout to the top of our ranking with high Access and Support for eating local. Alexandria and Washington tie with Philadelphia (No. 21) for the most on-farm markets within 50 miles. Baltimore boasts the best Convenience with the second-highest number of both on-farm pickup and delivery options. All three cities have Buy Fresh Buy Local chapters, too.
  • Pick Your Own: Cities in the Northeast and Northwest grow plenty of options for picking your own produce at farms. Portland (No. 1) leads the way, followed by Vancouver, Washington (No. 10), Boston (No. 7), Worcester, Massachusetts (No. 11), and Seattle (No. 6) in u-pick farm access.
  • Fast (Fresh) Food: Eating local doesn’t need to be inconvenient in Madison, Wisconsin (No. 8), where locals devour the most options for food delivery directly from farms. Baltimore (No. 2), Portland, Oregon (No. 1), Louisville, Kentucky (No. 39), and St. Paul, Minnesota (No. 15), all tie for second place in this metric with a handful of other cities.
  • From Seed to Salad: Community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs are a popular and convenient way to access farm-fresh food — especially in Minneapolis (No. 5), which has the most CSAs per 100,000 residents. Eugene, Oregon (No. 42), produces the second-highest number of CSAs per capita.