This morning I ventured over to the McCarren Park Greenmarket for the first time. Above, you can see the picture of the beautiful food I brought home. Not only was it a lot of fun checking out the various tents set up by farmers who traveled here to sell their fresh produce, but I really felt a positive vibe there. I began to think about what many of you may be wondering…why buy local?
Here are a few reasons why it’s hip to buy local produce:
Your food hasn’t traveled very far.
When you’re buying food from local farmers, your food is much fresher and hasn’t traveled across the country (or world) to get to you. Many times, this produce is freshly picked that day – just hours before being delivered to your local market. Aside from the food being fresher, it’s better for the environment because cutting the travel time reduces harmful transportation pollution and energy waste. According to LocalHarvest.org, “Most [conventional] produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold.” Reduce your carbon footprint by buying local!
Feel more connected to your food by meeting the farmers.
Farmers selling their produce are more than happy to answer questions about how the food is grown, how to cook it or prepare it, great recipe ideas, and more. When you stop by a farmer’s stand and ask about their different tomato varieties, they are a wealth of knowledge because they work hands-on with each tomato. They are proud of their crops and excited to share them with you. This is a much more intimate experience than picking out mystery produce at the grocery store!
The nutrient content in the fruits and vegetables is higher.
Food that has to travel a long way or is picked long before it enters your kitchen can suffer from a loss of nutrients and vitamins. Time, light, travel, handling, chemical preservatives, waxes and temperature changes can all affect the nutritional value of your produce. You get more health benefits from locally grown food.
Support your local community.
Buying local supports the place you call home. Local Harvest says, ” Only 18 cents of every dollar, when buying at a large supermarket, go to the grower. 82 cents go to various unnecessary middlemen. Cut them out of the picture and buy your food directly from your local farmer.” You can help your local farmers keep their jobs and retain their farmland. This reduces the chance of the beautiful, open farmland being taken over by developers.
Still not convinced? How about this – the food just tastes better!
Try buying local produce once – you’ll find that it’s fresher, crisper and more flavorful. This morning after going to the greenmarket, I made a delicious brunch using fresh cilantro, red onion, garlic, heirloom tomato and fingerling potatoes – the flavors were extremely bold and bright compared to conventional supermarket food.
There are many other reasons to buy local – do some research on it. And get yourself to a local farmers market!! Find your closest one here.