Stopping at a farm stand or attending a farmer’s market is a great way to feel a part of the local community, support our economy, and get great nutrition! When food is grown locally, it does not have to be picked prematurely and ripened on a truck or plane over hundreds or even thousands of miles! Not only are you having a positive effect on the environment by eating foods grown closer to home, but you are also eating food that will have a higher vitamin and mineral content! Let’s go through some of the benefits of eating what is grown near you:
- It’s fresher! Produce at local farm stands or markets is usually picked that same day or the day before. These same foods at grocery stores would have been picked several days or weeks before getting to your plate. Fresher means they will taste better and that they will also have a higher nutrient content.
- Eating local means you are eating seasonally. Eating those vegetables or fruits that are available at a specific time of year supplies a variety of nutrients.
- It is good for the environment! Eliminating packaging and minimizing transportation needs greatly!
- The money you spend goes directly to the farmer instead of large corporations, which keeps your money local as well as supports farmers financially.
- Local, smaller farms usually use more sustainable agriculture practices that support soil and nutrient quality. This can mean significantly less or none of the synthetic pesticides and fertilizers!
- You can get to know your farmer and learn about what they grow and their farming practices. If you have kids, this can be a great way to get them involved with how food is grown and what is available to us right here in CT! Picky eaters are considerably more likely to try a new food if they saw how it was grown or helped pick it!
- Locally produced meat is usually raised on a pasture (as it should be!) and allowed to eat what it normally would in nature! These two facts help produce healthier meat that will nourish your body with proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Sacred Cow by Diana Rodgers, RD, and Robb Wolf is a great read on sustainably produced meat!
Where Do I Start?
- There are over 100 farmer’s markets in CT! Check out the list here for one near you: https://portal.ct.gov/DOAG/ADaRC/Publications/Farmers-Markets
- Getting family or friends involved can make it more enjoyable and not like a “chore” as food shopping can be seen.
Examples of local foods eaten by RD Rachel:
- During the year, I eat as much locally raised meat and seafood as possible.
- Whole chicken- a favorite way to prepare is simple with just salt in the instant pot and then shredding for chicken salad for lunches during the week.
- Pasture-raised beef- stew meat is a winter favorite
- Farm fresh eggs (chicken and duck!)
- During the late fall and into winter, I have a monthly CSA that goes from November to the end of January/early February that provides winter veggies (squash, carrots, onions, etc. along with small pears and apples that were stored well). I love getting these fresh foods in the colder, drearier months!
- During the summer months (lots to choose from!):
- Roasted or grilled carrots
- Love to pick my own blueberries
- Hot peppers- marinated or roasted and diced on top of a burger!
I hope this post has inspired you to see what locally grown foods may be grown right near you! Explore your area and give some new foods or recipes a try!