Thursday, September 2, 2021

Eating Healthy - Local and Real Foods

 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.

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.

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.

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 or to see if there is a listing for your area.

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.

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!

NO - just because it is local doesn't mean it is organic.  Some local is, but not all is.

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.


  1. Absolutely and it is not really too hard to find sources. One of our grocery stores has local produce, too. Eat for your health now and don't wait until you have a chronic illness or cancer. Once you make the switch you will crave fresh food and not the junk!

    1. I can find many resources around here - small farms and orchards.
      I love fresh foods. I like junk too - but I crave fresh.

  2. Our season is much shorter, but it is easy to find local market gardens, pick you own, farmers markets, friends etc. to find almost anything you want. Up here we have all the usual veggie suspects plus now we can grow okra up here. Local fruits are wild plums, Saskatoon berries, wild blueberries, wild strawberries, wild raspberries, gooseberries, market garden strawberries, raspberries, haspberries, goji berries, apples, pears, plums, mushrooms. If you are willing to keep your eyes and ears open, yes, we can live on the 100 mile diet. Thanks for the reminder. Jean

    1. Thank you for showing what all can be had even in a shorter season. All those wonderful berries - oh my.
      Good for you and I am glad you have access to so much.

  3. I will add, ASK, even if you are buying at a Farmer's Market or roadside stand. Several years ago, virtually all SW MI farms were hit with a hard freeze that devastated a majority of the sweet cherry crop. I stopped at a well-known roadside farmstand that I frequented (it was across the street from the grocery store I shopped at), and they had sweet cherries. I commented, "oh, you guys didn't loose everything?" and the kid working the market casually said, "no, my dad knows another farmer in Washington and he shipped these in to us so the locals could have cherries this year." And, then he got a strange look on his face, because they were marked Local Cherries. Oops! Needless to say, I found a new farmstand. Locally available is very different from locally grown. Know what is typically grown where and when is peak season. And, if you're not sure, ask where it was grown. If roadside, "did you grow this?" is an acceptable question? Sometimes they are the grower, other times, they are including a neighboring farm's produce, as well. Farmers often like to brag on their accomplishments and are willing to offer up information on the product, how best to store it, and even ideas for cooking. Last fall, I had a farmer's wife offer to pick out a mix of apples for making applesauce, telling me that it was the apples she used to can sauce and I wouldn't even need to add sugar. And, if I wanted it sweeter, to use light brown sugar instead of white. She was absolutely right, and I'll go see her again this fall.

    1. Thank you. Very good point. Buying local doesn't mean grown local. I mean I love oranges - but they sure aren't grown here!!
      We have to know our areas. We also need to know where we will make some sacrifices to locally grown.
      The farm wife was so nice to offer that advice. Great that it worked too.
      I love helpful folks and will always return.

  4. I find that farmers markets here are so expensive it is ridiculous, but the free I find fallen from the trucks is great!

    1. Oh heck yeah! I never thought of that. Farm markets are pretty costly here - but we do have some permanent stands that are local farms and they are a bit better.

  5. Locally grown is good for the local economy and the fact that the food hasn't had to travel across the country. Meijer has signs up that tell if certain produce is locally grown. I wonder how the farmers' market downtown is faring. We used to go down there on Wednesdays but parking was a hassle. We harvested potatoes this morning. Got a lot out of a small raised bed.

    1. I have heard the Farmer's Market downtown is having a lot of trouble and no where near even half capacity. There is so much construction going on, that is understandable. I used to like going there - haven't been in years.
      YAY on the potatoes.

  6. Yup, homegrown is so much tastier than the grocery store. Our neighbors gave us two tomato plants about a month ago and the tomatoes we are getting from these plants are far tastier than the store bought ones. Happy labor day weekend to you!

    1. No comparison on tomatoes - home grown vs. store. I agree.
      Thanks - have a nice weekend yourself.
      I will be doing the same old things - nothing special here.

  7. A large and well-known chain thinks 450 miles is local. Another, local, three-store chain had no idea the origin or variety of sweet potatoes they carried. I now go to the farmer and buy sweet potatoes from the middle of the field.

    1. Wow, that doesn't sound local to me. That is pretty sad that grocers don't know where the food they are selling comes from.
      Good for you - those will taste better straight from the field!

  8. I buy local (and organic) as much as possible. Does it cost more? Yes. Do the farmers deserve a living wage? Yes they do. I know that not everyone can make the budget adjustments to accommodate the cost, but I like to think everyone would do some even if just 20% and over the years, work up. We're at 80% now and that's likely all we'll get in a location that is subzero in winter.

    For me, local is 50 miles. My mid-size metro area is surrounded by rural farming communities so if it's not seafood or citrus, it comes here to the Farmer's market May-mid October and if we're lucky, they do a 6week holiday in a donated indoor warehouse space with their preserved/frozen goods!

    Honestly, it is soooo painful and tasteless to revert to grocery store produce. That is what moved me to adjust budget to begin organic/local sourcing way back.

    1. Good for you! I am impressed! Location does matter and yes, some things just aren't local - but that is OK. Especially when you do the bulk of it locally.
      Fresh is best for sure. Nothing compares to the taste.