In an earlier post, we discussed the “Locavore” movement: buying locally produced foods. Whenever possible, try to buy locally grown food that is organic to avoid pesticides.
It’s also thought that the method of growing organic products “stresses” produce in such a way that it develops higher levels of life-enhancing antioxidants. If you have to choose between organic and local, pick local. By choosing products that have not traveled hundreds or thousands of miles, the food is allowed to ripen fully, is less susceptible to disease, and is more eco-friendly.
Think about it: if a New Yorker wants to eat organics, they usually have to buy foods trucked from different parts of the country or even shipped by boat from Chile. That creates a huge carbon footprint in terms of transportation and fuel – and the travel time causes a loss of nutrients. Better to source foods that are “within a lazy day of driving,” as author Barbara Kingsolver writes in her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. In it, she describes how her family spent a year eating only homegrown and local food. Granted, she lives in southern Appalachia and is an accomplished gardener, but her book is a great overview of the Locavore philosophy.
Another positive aspect of the Locavore movement is the way it helps small farmers offer a wider variety of produce to a more select audience. Instead of supplying a wholesaler with vast quantities of a single crop, the local farmer can offer an array of produce options in smaller, more easily managed quantities. He or she can test a new type of fruit or vegetable without risking acres and acres of crops.
You can enjoy local produce and support the sustainable movement in your own community by finding a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in your area. A good place to start is at LocalHarvest.org. With a CSA, you buy a “share” of the farmer’s crops for a season, and receive a weekly box of locally grown, seasonal produce right off the farm. Joining a CSA is a great opportunity to:
- Show your children where their food comes from
- Teach kids about seasonality
- Try new foods from recipes the farms often provide
- Encourage kids to learn how a farm works (most offer tours)
- Meet the farmer who grows your food
- And of course, enjoy super-fresh produce
Teaching kids about seasonality can mean learning how to can and preserve foods, too. For instance, when peaches are in season, can them or make peach preserves to enjoy during the winter. It’s another way to diversify your children’s diets and get them to choose healthy food options. Shop with them, search for recipes together. Involve them in the process and they’ll be healthier adults!
Want to read more about eating local? Check out these sources for information on finding natural foods and local pick-your-own farms. We’ve noted some books on the subject, too.
- pickyourown.org – Find a pick-your-own farm and learn how to can and freeze.
- eatwild.com – A source for natural grass-fed meats, poultry and dairy products.
- wisefoodways.com – Exploring food, creating community and eating at home.
- What We Eat When We Eat Alone by Deborah Madison
- The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Locally on a Budget by Leda Meredith.
Keep all your garden-fresh greens crisp and delicious. Veggies stored in our new AirTight Crisper with Moisture Lock dry out four times slower, so they stay fresh and crisp longer. Learn more about this cool innovation found on Kenmore TRIO and side-by-side refrigerators.
Freezing fresh produce can be as simple as gathering appropriate containers and making room in the freezer. After learning about the ins and outs of freezing foods, have a look at Kenmore brand chest freezers.. You’ll save by buying in bulk and freezing in-season to enjoy out-of-season!