The summertime food scene is thriving in local communities across the country. And a movement to celebrate local food has sprung up - the locavore movement is actively promoting how to savor the traditional foods that represent America's regional cuisines. I think that there is much to be gained for you and your family, for the land, for the community and for the planet when you buy local foods whenever you can.
What are your favorite local foods where you live? Here in Washington DC, on my weekly trips to the farmer's markets the farmers come from Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In July and August they fill their stalls with spectacular peaches, cherries, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, green beans and so much more. Most of the produce is organically grown or the farmers do not use pesticides and the tastes of these fresh, local fruits and veggies are memorable. Also, in many markets you can find locally produced meat, lamb, chickens and eggs.
There are many good reasons for supporting local farmer's markets and buying local foods. Here are some reasons to go local that I want to share with you. Do you think there are more reasons to buy local?
- The food tastes so much better because it has not traveled as far and it is so fresh.
- Keeping the money in the local community means that local farmers can remain agriculturally productive. It promotes a sustainable food system and preserves the landscape.
- Energy costs are saved because the produce is not shipped across the country using gallons of gasoline. It is a delicious way to cut the demand for oil even more.
- It makes economic sense because there are few transportation costs and in the summer local produce is abundant and the cost is less.
- Nutrients are available because the fruits and vegetables are freshly picked and the nutrients are not lost because of being shipped across the country.
With the dramatic growth of farmers markets across the country, access to local food is getting easier. The US Department of Agriculture reports that 19,000 farmers only sell at farmers markets. The number of markets has risen 20 % since 2004. Check out a farmer's market near you and get ready to enjoy the wide variety of foods to explore and enjoy.
Here are a couple of delicious recipes that work so well with local ingredients and they were such a big hit when we brought them to Ellen's Healthy Table:
Published On: July 23, 2008