Why and How to Buy Local Produce
By Alison Wickmann
During the summer and fall season, farmers markets are booming with local produce. For those who have yet to experience this weekly event, you may be questioning the incentive? After all, finding time to go to the 24/7 supermarket can be challenging in itself. However, penciling in the farmers market may be worthwhile for the variety of benefits it holds for your community and your health.
It is inevitable that buying local supports the local economy. You are supporting your friendly neighbors and ultimately, your money is reinvested back into the community. This time allows you to connect to the farmer through gaining insight on how they cultivate their produce and if they choose to utilize pesticides and herbicides.
Local farmers also harvest their crops at their peak, optimizing the nutritional benefits and overall taste. The produce at the supermarket is typically picked well-before it is ready due to the long hours of transportation it requires to reach its destination. As one can imagine, local produce doesn’t require long hours of transportation, thus keeping the freshness and minimizes the amount of fossil fuels expelled into the environment.
A hot commodity is the edible wild mushrooms. With the scarcity and culinary versatility of the wild fungi species, it is no wonder these flee fast. This fall, keep your eyes peeled for the fragrant porcini, chicken of the woods, lion’s mane, lobster, oyster and chanterelle; these may be popping up in your local market. After a nice wash, sauteing these seasonal specialities will add an indescribable depth to your kitchen creations.
If you are not able to swing by this event, you are not out of luck. Depending on your regional supermarkets, they may be a local supplier to the masses. Whole Foods deserves an honorable mention, as they proudly market their partnership with local producers.