Have you ever gone into your local grocery store to buy fruits and vegetables only to be greeted by some of the most TIRED looking produce you’ve ever seen? Whenever I see this, it sure makes me wonder just how long these pitiful looking crops have been off the vine and just how far they have traveled. It sure ruins my appetite! There’s got to be a better way, and there is! Eat more locally grown food.
When you purchase locally grown food you recycle your money back into your community, support family farmers, and get to enjoy food that tastes better and is way more nutritious than what you can buy at the your local grocery store.
And boy is there a world of difference in the taste! Food grown locally will always taste better because it’s fresher. And growers can plant many different varieties if their fruits and vegetables aren’t subjected to long-distance shipping. For instance, where I live there is an apple orchard close to me that produces many different varieties of apples that I have never heard of. I have had the most fun trying them all!
I know we are all spoiled with the availability of year-round produce at the grocery store, but there is nothing like the taste of produce that’s in season. And that’s what you get when you buy from local farmers.
OK, so we know that eating locally grown food is a great thing for us and our communities, but how do we make it happen? Here are easy 7 things you can do to help make eating locally work for you.
- Start now. Check out your local farmer’s markets. Depending on where you live, there could be several. Most of them have Saturday hours, but some operate during week days as well. As you can imagine, the spring and summer markets will provide you with the greatest variety of produce, but even now, in the fall, there is great stuff to be had.
- Ease in gradually. Don’t stress, make it easy on yourself. Every week or month, try replacing just one food in your diet that you normally buy at your grocery store with a locally grown food. Hint: check out the apples!
- Be on the lookout when driving in the car. Roadside farm stands are another great source of local produce.
- Try picking your own. Berries and many other kinds of fruit often are available from farms that allow you to pick your own. Many fruits freeze easily and apples will keep all winter in a cool place in your home.
- Join a CSA. A CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is a member-supported farm. Depending on the type of CSA, members enjoy weekly deliveries of fresh produce, and sometimes eggs and dairy products.
- Grow your own. The best local food of all comes from your very own garden. Plant a new garden, or if you already have one, consider enlarging it. Don’t worry if you have never gardened before or have limited space, there are many good books out there that are helpful. One of my favorites is The Vegetable Gardner’s Container Bible by Edward C. Smith.
So get out there and start enjoying locally grown food. I think you will find it a fun and rewarding journey. To your good health!