When most of us go to the grocery store to pick up fresh produce, how many times do we think about the origination of what we are buying? Where did that apple grow? How far did that mango travel to get here? With all of the genetically modified products and increased use of preservatives, these are essential questions to ask yourself.
Let’s face it- you want to eat food that is fresh. Food that is free from all sorts of pesticides and other harmful agents. This is why I’m such a huge fan of buying fruits and vegetables at farms that are local. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits:
- Chock Full of Nutrients
Many people think fruits and vegetables are all the same. They are filled with nutrients and that’s the end of that. However, when fruits and vegetables travel a long distance to reach their destination, a lot of nutrients may be depleted. When you buy products locally, they are picked at the height of their freshness and you can be sure that the nutrient levels are high.
- Improved Taste and Freshness
Have you ever been to a local apple farm or peach farm and picked that fruit right off the tree? Did you notice how juicy it was compared to the fruits that you get at your grocery store? Buying food locally allows you to truly get fresh produce– guaranteed. It’s likely that they aren’t packaged and sealed and left on shelves for days. Keep that in mind!
- Better Food Safety
Since the produce doesn’t have to travel long distances to get to you, there is a small chance that contamination will occur with locally grown foods. You as a consumer know exactly where your head of lettuce came from and how it was arranged.
- Support of the Environment
When you look at the farms that are well managed throughout our country, most are run by the use of fertile soil that is taken care of properly. Also, keep in mind that farms usually house a ton of animals and they may even be homes for the wildlife out there.
Additionally, let’s not forget about the transportation that many fruits and vegetables use to travel those great distances. Transportation alone whether it’s by a truck, plane or train uses all types of fossil fuels that cause great pollution to our environment. Who wants to actually promote that? Although much cannot be done simply because it is a huge industry, you can make a difference for yourself and your family by shopping locally. It makes all the difference in the world- trust me.
- Support of Your Local Economy
For the local farmers out there, their business is typically done in their home town. Wouldn’t you rather hand over your money to your own town, city or state rather than another random place in order to enjoy delicious, healthy products? Local shops are great for communities that are close-knight and just knowing that the abundance of healthy food connects you to them is wonderful.
As you can see eating locally has a ton of perks to take advantage of. When the season is right, head down to your nearest farm and enjoy!
Anita Haridat, PhD.