It is August, and Farmer’s Market season is in full swing! When you sit down to a delicious meal do you ever think about where the food on your plate was grown? Or who picked that beautiful Red Delicious apple? Today, chefs and consumers alike are putting thought into the sourcing of their food; choosing to rely on the bounty of local farmers. Eating farm to table is more than just a culinary trend; it is a movement that fosters a healthier lifestyle and environment. Throughout the country, chefs are showing their commitment to sustainability and nutrition by offering dishes that have been prepared with local produce, meat, seafood, grains, and dairy. Read below to learn the benefits of eating local and how you can bring the farm to your own table.
- Flavorful – As opposed to mass produced fruits and vegetables, local, farm grown produce is much more flavorful. Grown in rich soil and picked at the peak of their ripeness, fruits and vegetables grown locally often taste sweeter and more vibrant.
- Nutritious – Once produce is picked, the vitamins and minerals they contain start to break down rapidly. A vegetable’s days-long trip across country to the grocery store and finally onto your plate means a loss of essential nutrients such as potassium and vitamins amongst others.
- Seasonal – The availability of produce depends on the season and geographical location. Buying from farmers is a great way to keep menus and flavors fresh and varied. It’s also a great way to get creative in the kitchen and try new foods!
- Environmentally Friendly – Eating farm to table drastically reduces the carbon footprint left in the wake of transporting food by plane of tractor trailer. On average, 500 gallons of fuel is needed to cart produce 1500 miles! Supporting local farms also allows more green spaces and farmland to remain in communities.
- Economy Boosting – By purchasing locally, farms in the community are able to remain economically viable. When selling directly to the consumer, farmers retain more of their profits and are able to employ others within in the community.
Community-Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and farmer’s markets are a great way to purchase from local farms. CSAs allow members to buy a share of the farmer’s harvest before the growing season and then receive regular distributions of the bounty. Farmer’s markets are one of the oldest and most social ways to support your local farms and engage with members of your community. Check for a list of CSAs and farmer’s markets in your local area to reap all of the benefits.