We are just approaching that wonderful time when for the next several months locally grown food will be in abundance. During this time of year, we make it our goal to source as much of our food locally as possible. There are so many reasons why we do this but here’s our top 5:
- It’s Healthier! When food has to undergo days or weeks of traveling, being stored, refrigerated, etc. many fresh fruits and vegetables lose a significant amount of their nutrients. For example, studies have shown that when broccoli sits for one week for transport and storage time from when it was harvested, it loses as much as 80% of its glucosinolates, a group of sulphur based chemicals that gives broccoli its flavor and cancer fighting effects. For more on this, I’d highly recommend the book Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson. She walks you through a wide range of vegetables and fruits explaining how to select and prepare them to provide you with the maximal nutrients.
- It’s Better for the Environment! Goodness knows the last thing we need is more trucks, planes, or boats traveling thousands of miles so you can purchase the same thing that your local farmer is already growing (with the addition of a crazy amount of plastic packaging, refrigeration time, or unnatural preservatives added in the process).
- It Supports Your Local Farmer and Economy! Up until the first grocery story was created only 100 years ago here in the United States, everyone purchased or bartered goods from others in their local community. The farmer received a fair wage and you knew exactly where your dollar was going. Now when we purchase an inexpensive tomato from the grocery, which has traveled hundreds of miles from Florida to get here, do you know who is getting that money? Is it a company or practices that you would like to support?
- It’s FUN! Seriously, we cannot tell you how much fun we have traveling to different local farms and farmers markets to buy food, see how it’s grown, and even help be a part of the growing or harvesting process when we can! It has given us a completely new appreciation for each meal we consume and a gratitude for the complexities of nature and the hard work of the farmers that allow us to eat so well.
- It’s Delicious! Simply put, eating food that’s locally grown and freshly harvested beats the pants off of anything you can buy at the grocery store. We’d encourage you to do some taste tests this summer of locally grown tomatoes or melons compared to those purchased from your local grocery store, you’ll never want to go back!
We’d love to hear about your adventures or recommendations on eating locally – we are always looking for our next adventure and resources to share!