More and more people are recognizing the benefits of buying locally grown foods. According to the nonprofit organization FoodRoutes, these benefits include:
Premium taste: Locally grown fruits and vegetables are usually sold within 24 hours of being harvested. Produce picked and eaten at the height of ripeness has exceptional flavor and, when handled properly, is packed with nutrients.
Maximum freshness: By choosing local produce at farm stands, farmers markets, pick-your-own farms and grocery stores, you pay for taste, not transportation and packaging.
Unique varieties: Local farmers often grow a large assortment of unique varieties of products to provide the most flavorful choices throughout the season.
Buying local also keeps farms and communities strong. Money spent by shoppers at local farms and by local farmers at local businesses stays in the community. Knowing your farmer can also help alleviate food safety concerns. It's good business for everyone.
In addition to buying local fruits and vegetables at farmer's markets and grocery stores, you can also buy through a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) program. With a CSA, you subscribe to get a box of fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables every week for a season. This can be a great way to try new fruits and vegetables that you might not be familiar with. Some CSAs also send their subscribers weekly e-mail reminders with recipes and ideas for preparing the produce.