What do we all need to know about shopping for produce? What do we want to do to eat healthy? What is considered local? I will try to answer those questions. I guess this should have been a post earlier in the growing season - but there is still lots of fresh goods available and there will be for a few more months. There are always ways to get fresh in the winter as well.
Thursday, September 2, 2021
Eating Healthy - Local and Real Foods
Fresh can be grown at home or it can come from farms, orchards and neighbors and friends. Generally GOOD fresh produce may cost a few cents more - but your health is worth it.
WHAT IS LOCAL?
Many folks say that it is food that is grown or harvested within a 100 mile radius of your home. That sounds daunting to some, I know. IF we went local for all our food - that would mean meat, eggs, milk, cheese, butter as well as fruit and veggies would have to be included. It CAN be done - but not too many will do it or pay the higher prices.
Some groups say local is a max of a 7 hour drive.
The Dept. of Ag doesn't really define it except to say it is farmers selling directly to consumers.
HOW TO FIND LOCAL FOOD?
Farm Markets are a great source of fresh and local. Many of our farm markets have it all - from meat to veggies. I can guarantee you the meat and cheese are a lot more expensive than going to the store! Of course you can find out where the farm is, you know whether it is organic or not, you can even make a weekend drive to see the facility. You can't do that with the stuff you buy at the grocery!!!!!
We have winter markets and summer markets. Many locals grow in greenhouses and provide fresh veggies and fruit all year.
You can join a local food co-op, they sell year round.
Some small grocers buy from local vendors.
You can also go to localharvest.org or farmersmarkets.usda.gov to see if there is a listing for your area.
IS IT MORE NUTRITOUS?
YES. It is freshly harvested (within hours) before the market sells it. The fresher food is the more nutrients it has. When it sits for days or weeks before you take it home - it is truly losing good stuff! Other than growing your own, farm markets are a close to peak freshness as you can probably get.
DOES IT TASTE BETTER?
YES. Think of those things called 'tomatoes' we buy at the store and then what you get fresh from the vine!! NO comparison. Same with all fruit and veggies - you just can't compare the two. Higher quality food just tastes better. When buying meat from a local farmer - YES it will cost more - but there is NO pink slime!!!! That says a lot!
IS IT ALL ORGANIC?
NO - just because it is local doesn't mean it is organic. Some local is, but not all is.
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF "REAL" FOOD?
Produce is packed full of health-boosting nutrients. Lots of vitamins - even great cancer fighters like A and C, calcium for strong teeth and bones and potassium for lower blood pressure.
If you are eating and filling up on REAL food - you will be eating less junk! That means less high fat snacks. That means smaller waist lines!
The old saying: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - is true. Maybe a handful of grapes or berries or a salad can help your health is ways you may not even think about.
Fall still has a great selections of goodies to choose from. Apples, pumpkins, squash, beets, cabbage, broccoli, peppers, onions, lettuces, melons, carrots as well as tomatoes and beans.
We all need to eat a big variety of fruit and veggies. Think COLOR! The more colors you are eating the more nutrients you are putting in your body.
If we take care of our bodies and our health - we aren't spending as much on doctors, medicines and hospitals. That is a good thing.
It may cost a bit more (if you aren't growing it yourself) - but you can save down the road. Always check with those markets for end of day bargains. Many don't want to load it all back up. Check with orchards and farms in the area and check with family and friends.
Mom was right - "eat your veggies"!!!!! They are good for you.