Do you ever stop to think where those bright red strawberries came from or how you can eat a freshly grown avocado in the middle of winter?
Interestingly, most produce grown in the United States travels approximately 1,500 miles before it is even sold. Eating locally grown foods not only helps support your local economy and the farmers in your area, but it also helps to cut down on the amount of air pollution and global warming from transportation, as well as helps you avoid toxic pesticides.
Choosing to eat locally and seasonally also helps farmers concentrate only on growing the freshest possible foods and delivering them to you, the consumer, almost instantly. There is no need to worry about fancy packaging, shipping or shelf life. Try biting into a freshly picked tomato from your local growing area and then try biting into one that has been transported to your local big box grocery store. I’m betting the local tomato wins, hands down!
Where can you get fresh, locally grown produce?
- Farmer’s markets. Many communities hold weekly, bi-weekly or monthly farmer’s markets. Look online or in your local newspaper for specific dates and times.
- Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). The use of CSAs has become more and more popular over the last few years. It allows consumers to buy their fruits and vegetables directly from farmers in their local area. Typically, a farmer will allow a certain number of “shares” to the public. This usually consists of a box of assorted seasonal fruits and veggies sold to the consumer on a weekly basis throughout the farming season. Many times the boxes will be available at local farmer’s markets or other drop points. You can visit localharvest.org to find a CSA near you.
- Roadside stands. Many times during the spring or summer months or in warmer climates, you’ll see small roadside stands filled with deliciously bright colored fruits and veggies. Chances are the produce you are seeing has just been harvested that morning.
- Locally grown produce in grocery stores. Some grocery stores now offer produce grown by local farmers. If yours doesn’t, ask to speak with a manager and petition the use of locally grown foods.
Photo via stock.xchng.