Local Farmers, Local Food
The Buying Local Difference
A Great Source of Fresh, nutritionally dense food
As individuals and families have begun to realize that many supermarkets offer limited varieties of fruits and vegetables and no local produce, they are turning to the most traditional source of fresh food and wide variety-- the nearby farmer. Local farmers plant more flavorful varieties of produce specifically to be sold in thier local areas and markets, their produce is picked and sold at the peak of its freshness and nutrient/phyto-chemical content. Varieties sold in large supermarkets are often those grown to withstand long transportation and some cold storage before they even reach the consumer, and, as a result, they provide much less flavor and health benefits and shelf life. Additionally, if you seek to reduce processed foods from your table, by shopping at your local farmers' market you will learn from your farmer more about local fresh produce, its growing season, and simple ways to prepare it at home.
Safety and Nutrition
Through local food purchasing, you maintain more control in the safety and nutritional content of your food. Only you can assure the safety of your food by knowing who is growing it. Your local farmer will share knowledge of how your food was grown -- what chemicals were or were not used in producing your food, picked when it is ripe when all the nutrients are at their peak. Produce imported from outside your local area not only loses freshness in a long transportation chain, but also loses what nutritional value it has (because vegetables accumulate most of their nutrition in the last couple of weeks up to ripeness) as the vitamins and minerals diminish. Keep in mind that your purchases from local farmers will stay fresh longer on your shelf because they have not spent time in transit or storage. So you will get fresher more nutritious food that stay on the shelf longer so you get a bigger bang for your buck. Also the longer the distribution chain of fresh produce, there is also an increase in risk of food contamination.
Beyond the Food
Local farms and the consumers who purchase fresh food from them often develop a mutual understanding and love of the connection between the land, the farmers, their neighbors, and local communities. The local grocery was once a center of community life and a supplier of local produce. Now the local farmers' markets are picking up that role and members of communities are reconnecting and finding great relationships with their farmers. Both farmers and their local customers are taking pride in the abundant food our region has to offer and appreciating the traditional growing process "from seed to table."
Buying from your local producer has a multiplier effect of seven fold. Foe every dollar you spend locally multiplies by seven as the farmer or local business spends money with in the local community. Buying supplies, services and hiring help. The local farmers also create the land use that keeps our farms and pastures undeveloped and responsibly managed for the health of our soil and water, hence healthy plants and animals hence healthy people.