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'Choose LI' Campaign Promotes Buying Local Produce, Seafood

TOWN OF BROOKHAVEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – There's a push to stimulate the economy while stimulating your taste buds in Suffolk County.

CBS2's Vanessa Murdock visited Lenny Bruno Farms in Manorville, where she and fourth-generation farmer Dominick Bruno discussed buying local.

"For some people, local is 250 miles away. Here, local means it's coming from this field and it's being sold at our farm stand," he said.

Bruno said he's thrilled to be part of a new initiative launched by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, called Choose LI.

"Buying locally grown and harvested food is better for overall health and it is better for our region," said Bellone.

The goal is to get Long Island families to take the pledge to spend 10 percent of their weekly grocery budget on buying local produce and fish.

New Yorkers spend an average of $176 a week on food, Murdock reported. If each Suffolk County household pledges 10 percent to buying local, $19 million would be fed into the county's economy each year and, in turn, help create 1,000 jobs.

Julieann Hughes, a mother of four, said she makes an effort to buy local.

"Yesterday I spent $20 here, and we're back for more," she said. "One, it's convenient and two, it helps out local business."

Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, said it's crucial to promote locally landed seafood.

"Ninety-two percent of seafood consumed in this country is imported, and that's a huge issue if you're a local fisherman," she said.

At Atlantic Seafood in Center Moriches, manager Colleen Donovan agreed.

"It just keeps jobs in the area," she said, adding that most of their seafood is harvested hyper locally. "These clams we get locally, these come from the Great South Bay."

The swordfish and tuna are caught between there and Montauk.

"Everything is supporting local. It's what keeps your community going," said Donovan.

The Chose LI campaign also supports local wine and microbrews. For more information, click here.

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