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BONNIE'S GARDEN--Grow it Yourself or Buy Local

We've all heard the terms vegetarian and carnivore.  Well, I'm a locavore.  A locavore is someone who believes in and trys to eat locally sourced foods whenever possible.  I eat local because I believe that, in the long run, it's best.  When I buy locally raised beef, I know that it was grown humanely in a pasture and raised without antibiotics or hormones.  I remember someone once asking our beef vendor at our Farmers Market what he did when his cows got sick.  He gave her a surprised look.  "Our cows don't get sick,"  he replied.  And when I gtrow my own food (or buy locally grown food), I know where it came from.  These are the reasons I buy local produce.

1.   Locally grown fruits and vegetables just plain taste better.  They haven’t been gassed or irradiated to ripen them artificially—and they haven’t been sitting in storage for days or weeks. 

 2.  It’s seasonal.  It is fresh and delicious and reflects the truest flavors.  Cooking with fresh local produce helps you to reconnect with the cycles of nature in our area.  It sounds a little philosophical, I know, but as you look forward to asparagus in spring, sweet corn in summer, or broccoli in autumn, you reconnect with the earth, the weather, and the turning of the seasons.

 3.  It’s better for you.  Studies have shown that vital nutrients in fruits and vegetables begin to degrade once they’ve been picked.  When you buy from a grocery store, you’re buying broccoli that was picked a week or more ago—not yesterday or this morning.  You’re buying strawberries that were picked in California last week.  And those grapes grown in Chile?  I wonder when they were picked...

 4.  Which brings us to reason four--Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1500 miles to get to your table.  All this shipping uses large amounts of fossil fuels, contributes greatly to pollution and creates large amounts of trash with extra packaging.  Conventional agriculture uses up more resources than local sustainable agriculture and pollutes water, land and air with toxic agricultural by-products. 

 5.  Much of the food found in grocery stores is highly processed.  The fresh produce you do find is often grown using pesticides or hormones. It may have been irradiated, genetically modified, waxed or gassed in transit.  All of these practices have potentially damaging effects.   

 8.  It’s nice to know where your food comes from.  Growing it yourself or buying from a local Farmers Market is one of the best ways to reconnect with where your food comes from.  When you grow it yourself, you know how it was grown, where it was grown and who handled it.  When you buy from a local Farmers Market, the farmers themselves sell their produce at the stands. 

 I grow what I can.  There is something so satisfying about eating green beans or tomatoes or cucumbers I grew myself.  But I have limited space.  What I don’t have room for, I buy at our Farmers Market whenever possible.  I love asparagus, for example, but I only have room for a small patch.  When it shows up in our Market, I gorge on it.  Corn is a very space intensive crop so I let Mildred or Charles (two of our farmers) grow it.  And I know I’m buying corn that was not chemically treated AND that was picked that morning before market—not a week and 1500 miles ago.

 Grow what you can and what you can’t buy local whenever possible.  Our ourdoor spring/summer Farmers Market begins on Thursday, April 9th from 10 until 2.  Come see us!
Posted: 3/23/2015 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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