How I Fell in Love with LOCAL Produce, and WHY You Should Too. . .
Growing up, I can remember picking fresh fruits and veggies for dinner, straight from my mom’s garden. So I guess the seed was planted early on (pun intended), though somewhere in the mix of adolescent muck, I lost touch with the sheer joy of fresh, local, and nutritious veggies during the summer months.
Over the past several years of reclaiming my health, studying nutrition, and counseling others, the “eat your veggies” memo has come back loud and clear. However, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that my true appreciation for local produce didn’t fully set in until the past year or so.
Two major experiences drove the point home:
1.) Last summer I joined my first CSA, with Red Fire Farm (www.redfirefarm.com). CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) are set up so you invest in the farm upfront and receive a weekly share of veggies straight from the dirt to your table. Can’t beat it!
2.) Over the past several months, I have been working part time with City Feed and Supply, a hip mom and pop grocery/deli/cafe down the street from me in Jamaica Plain, that strives (very successfully, I’d say) to be a hub for fresh, local, and sustainable food and goods. During growing season in New England, City Feed shelves provide something like a neighborhood farmer’s market every day of the week, working with over 10 farms in the area!
Working with City Feed, I’ve learned a lot about the many benefits of eating locally grown food. Recently, we came up with some of our top reasons to buy local, and here they are:
City Feed and Supply’s “WHY BUY LOCAL?”
Locally grown produce is fresher
Produce grown locally is typically picked within 24 hours of your purchase, versus produce that was shipped for days or weeks.
Locally grown produce is better for you!
The nutritional value of fruits and vegetables declines with time after they are harvested. The fresher the vegetables are, the better they are for you!
Locally grown produce TASTES BETTER!
Fresh picked, locally grown produces tastes so much better because it is able to ripen longer on the vine for more flavor. Once you’ve tasted a local tomato or peach you will never go back!
Buying locally grown food is environmentally responsible.
When you buy local, you reduce carbon emissions and packing materials, lessening your environmental footprint.
Buying locally grown food helps preserve our open spaces.
The local farming landscape will only survive as long as farms are financially viable. When you buy local food, you do your part to protect the agricultural landscape, keeping New England. . .well, New England!*
As if that weren’t enough reasons, I’d like to tack on another two cents about what eating locally can do for you. Locally grown produce connects you to your food, your community, and the earth we inhabit. That means you get to walk around feeling just a little more grounded, a little more centered, and little more in tune with your surroundings.
But don’t take my word for it! If you haven’t already, I encourage you to hit up your local farmers markets! Meet your farmers, get to know your food, feel great about what you’re putting in to your body. You will see the difference, taste the difference and really truly feel the difference.
Not sure where to get local produce in your area?
Pop onto www.localharvest.org to find out!