Mother Nature’s “seasonings”
Mother Nature has designed a wonderful system such that each season’s food just happens to have exactly what our bodies require to stay fit and healthy. Each season provides different minerals and vitamins that have been benefiting humans for centuries. For example, autumn’s seasonal vegetables, such as Kale, are particularly high in Vitamin C which builds up the immune system to help ward off colds and flues.
Developing a relationship with local farmers gives us an “in” with our local food system. At farmers’ markets we can get answers to questions like: When do tomatoes come into season? And, how might I use a specific item? Most farmers are happy to talk about how the growing season is going and how that affects the food they grow. Knowing local farmers can go a long way to simplifying buying local.
“Food Miles” – How far has your food traveled?
Another significant reason to buy local is to keep food miles to a minimum. “Food miles” refers to the distance a food item travels from the farm to your home. The food miles for items in the grocery store are, on average, 27 times higher than the food miles for goods bought from local sources.
In the US, the average grocery store’s produce travels nearly 1,500 miles between the farm where it was grown and your refrigerator.
About 40% of our fruit is produced overseas and, even though broccoli is grown all over the country, the broccoli we buy at the supermarket travels an average of 1,800 miles to get there. Notably, nine percent of our red meat comes from foreign countries, some as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
Know your farmer, know your food
So do you want to know what’s in season? Or how to eat local? Talk to a local farmer! Click here to check out our list of CSA’s, Farmers Markets and Produce Exchanges.
Image credits: Denise Dewire and Jim Martin.