Every year when the spring equinox rolls around I start craving the ultra-freshness of local fruits and vegetables. Aside from the vibrant flavors, local produce is also nutritionally superior to the stuff that’s trucked in from the other side of the country (and skipping the trucks altogether is better for the air we breathe too). Win, win.
Some people assume that eating close to home is a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several terrific ways to get your produce locally.
Your Own Backyard
Of course, growing your own food is the ultimate system for eating locally. If you’re like my dad, it just comes naturally. But with a little help, the rest of us can find success in our garden plots. Time Sparke’s informative blog post “How to Start Your Own Sustainable Vegetable Garden” is a good place to start expanding your gardening knowledge. Or for a more in-depth resource, you can’t beat Brett L. Markham’s Maximizing Your Mini Farm: Self-Sufficiency on ¼ Acre.
Imagine zipping outside in your pajamas to grab some blackberries for your homemade yogurt. Pretty cool, right?
But what if you don’t have the time and energy to cultivate your own garden?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs)
Joining a CSA is a feel-good way to get your produce close to home. The farmer puts your membership fees toward planting, nurturing, and harvesting their bounty. In return, you pick up a box filled with seasonal goodies from the farm (how often depends on the time frame you choose). With our first CSA membership, we could choose reaping the benefits of summer, fall, winter, or all three.
If finding a CSA in your area sounds like a good option for you, LocalHarvest.com can point you in the right direction.
Intimidated by the sheer amount and/or variety of produce in a CSA box?
Local Farmers’ Markets
If your family likes what it likes when it likes it, visiting the farmers’ market in your area is a great way to get local produce on a weekly basis. As you develop relationships with the farmers at each booth, you can learn about their individual farming philosophies and get a heads up on what they’ll be offering in the coming weeks. And just like with CSAs, LocalHarvest.com can help you find a farmers’ market in your area too.
No matter what stage of life you’re in, and no matter how much time or money you can spend, it’s easy to have your broccoli and eat it too.
Image from iStock/Martinan