There is something quite heartening about the array of aromas and flavors experienced through locally produced foods. In fact, I am going to teach you just how to eat local.
I have many fond memories of the fresh foods that surrounded me during a visit to Turkey, years ago. While there, I ogled over rainbows of produce, fresh breads, and so much more. To my palate’s delight, local matriarchs had a long-standing tradition of preparing these native ingredients, in ways that maximized both nutrition and flavor.
In recent decades, the U.S. has begun to better utilize the valuable resources coming from our local farms, as well.
Why eat local?
- You are supporting local farms and, therefore, your local economy
- When foods travel shorter distances, they leave less of a carbon footprint
- You will gain better nutrition, taste and freshness
- It builds a stronger sense of community
- Help preserve the wide, open spaces that provide us with cleaner air than suburban sprawl
Find your local harvest
Out of the two million farms here in the U. S., a whopping 80% are small family farms.
The local harvest website is an excellent resource for learning where your local farms are. Use it to learn about what each farm offers (i.e. meats, produce, dairy). You can also find out which of them offer CSAs and pick-your-own opportunities. In addition, simply type in your zip code, and get a list of all the farmers’ markets in your area.
Farm-to-table delivery services
Being a seasoned relocator, I am used to doing a lot of online searches in order to find what I need in my new community. This is how I stumbled upon the convenient option of farm delivery services. This is where one or more farms offer an online shopping experience for ordering groceries that are delivered straight to your door!
The service in my area at the time was called, Green Bean Delivery, and is available in select Kentucky, Ilinois, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio cities. Don’t live in one of those states? Not to worry, there are services like this popping up all over the country! And if you don’t see your part of the country on the link I just provided, you can do a search in your area, just like I did.
Locally sourced restaurants
Perhaps you are more inclined to dine out than to cook? You are in luck, because using locally sourced ingredients is gaining popularity with restaurant chefs in recent years. They know that their patrons are on the hunt for unique, healthy and flavorful dishes. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship with the local farmers. The Local Harvest website has a link for this area search as well.
Grow your own
I can cook almost anything, but growing my own produce is something I still struggle with. That said, I continue to try my hand at it. The satisfaction of pulling fresh vegetables from your own garden and tossing them in your dinner plan makes it all worthwhile.
It’s seedling time in most areas of the country. Seeds can be planted indoors approximately 4 to 6 weeks prior to the last frost. I won’t go into great detail, but here is the link I followed for getting a head start. It’s also a good idea to test your soil for both composition and alkaline.
It just so happens to be the best time of the year to start getting excited about eating locally. So now that you’re well-equipped with the best sources, go for it. Experience all the seasonal varieties that your local area offers. Check out my pinterest board for some great recipe ideas.
So I’m curious–are you currently making an effort to eat local? How is that going for you? What are your struggles?
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