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My husband and I were in Napa Valley, California recently and while there we tried to eat at locally sourced restaurants. And when we did, the difference in the taste and variety of dishes we were served was amazing. I try and find restaurants who source locally whenever I travel – it gives an insiders peek into the area.
Right now, we are changing seasons and it’s a good time to learn a little more about eatling locally and how you can do more of it.
8 Tips To Help You Eat Locally
*1. Learn what’s in season. If it can’t be grown in your area in the current season, then you can be sure what you’re buying isn’t local. (Think mangoes in Connecticut in December.)
Knowing what’s available in your area and when it’s at its prime will help you plan grocery lists and menus. In no time, you’ll be searching markets and farm stands for zucchini in July and for butternut squash in late-September.
Bonus: in-season produce is often less expensive than out of season fare. Search for local organizations that give advice about what produce is available in your area and where you can buy it.
2. Plant a garden. Or even a few plants! Herbs are easy to grow on windowsills, and pots of tomato plants will thrive on porches if you’re not ready to dig a plot in your yard.
If you lack the space, are a new gardener, or just love company, find (or start!) a community garden where you can have your own plot or garden with others to grow food for your community.
3. Buy local produce. It’s one statement, but the idea can be acted out in many ways. Locate the farm stands in your neighborhood. Local farmers large and small are selling their produce at literal stands where you can buy whatever is in season: tomatoes, strawberries, zucchini, and squash.
You can also shop at larger farmer’s markets, where multiple farmers and artisans will be selling their goods. Conduct online searches to find a farmer’s market near you.
4. Pick your own. Peaches, berries, cherries, apples and pumpkins are among the fruits and veggies you can pick yourself. Find a participating u-pick farm in your neighborhood and take a field trip with the family.
5. Join a CSA. CSA stands for “community supported agriculture.” By joining a CSA, members pay up front (before the season starts) for a weekly share of a local farm’s harvest for the year. The farmer benefits from this relationship because he’ll know exactly how much to plant and he or she can spend the season tending the farm instead of marketing produce.
Each week members receive a box of fresh, locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables that often come with storage tips and recipes from the farm or the CSA organization. Many CSAs also offer eggs, dairy, meat, bread, grains or beans.
6. Check labels and look for local produce. Seek out, not only produce, but bread, jams, grains and other products that are grown or produced near you.
Many grocery stores and even restaurants are using signs or labels to let you know where your food is sourced, making it easier for you to choose the products that are made right in your neighborhood.
7. Read all about it. Does your city have its own Edible magazine? Research the small publications and community newsletters in your town to find out about upcoming markets and festivals, and check out the blogs from your favorite farms, purveyors, restaurants and shops that support eating locally to find out about new products and events.
8. Get involved in “eat local” organizations. Seek national organizations as well as their local branches. There are national organizations that support local, sustainable goods and you can easily find out what products, markets and even blogs are available in your area.
Your city or local area may have its own organization that is supported by a larger or national organization. Check out your local community centers or search online to find them.
Which of these 8 tips to Help You Eat Locally do you like best or are already doing? What is your favorite item to buy or eat locally?
Leave a comment, I’d love to know and there may be someone in your area who would like to know.
Helping You Look Your Best, Feel Your Best, For Good.™ so you can live a life you love.
P.S. Do you want to know what to eat to Look Your Best, Feel Your Best, For Good.™? Email me at cindy@cindynunnery and ask for my clean eating food guide.