These days, the average produce item travels about 1,500 miles from farm to table. Locavores try to shrink that distance to about a 100-mile radius. A locavore is a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.
Since we're all supposed to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, spring/summer is a great time to be a locavore. Produce grown at local farms – or your backyard – abounds.
Consumers are more interested than ever about where and how their food is produced. Shopping at a farmer's market or local farm provides an opportunity to talk to the people who are at the center of bringing food from the farm to your table.
There are several benefits of "going local."
Taste the Difference
Many people swear by the taste of local produce. One reason is the freshness – foods picked within 24 hours simply taste fresher.
Better Taste, Better For You
Produce loses nutrients and enzymes the longer it sits. Since local produce has a shorter time between harvest and your table, it is less likely the nutrient value has decreased.
Conventional farms generally grow fruits and vegetables they can mass produce and that will last a long time on the shelf.
Because quantity and durability is a goal, conventionally grown food is more likely to use genetically-modified seeds (GMOs). There is controversy surrounding whether GMO foods are safe for human consumption. Because there is no long-term research on humans and negative health effects shown in animal studies, nutritionists caution against consumption of these foods. Local farms produce food with the goal of selling to the local and direct market (such as local restaurants and farmer's markets), so nutritional quality and taste are more of a priority than durability.
Local Food Is Good for the Local Economy
Spending money at local farm markets keeps those dollars in your community to be reinvested with other local businesses. There are lots of farm markets in our area. You can go online to see what's in season, a list of area farm markets, a listing of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA's) and more.
Benefits for the Environment
Keeping local farms in business means keeping farmland and open and/or green space preserved. With local food traveling a shorter distance (and using less fuel), locavores may also help conserve energy and reduce pollution. And, small farms often adopt environmentally-friendly practices.
Most local farms are transparent in the way they grow their food and are happy to answer your questions about their processes and products.
Seasons and the Value of Variety
From early summer strawberries to fall favorites like apples, local crops offer a variety of seasonal tastes at their peak of flavor. Local farmers are often able to try different crops and offer interesting varieties you might not find elsewhere.
About Doylestown Health Nutrition Services
Doylestown Health Nutrition Services offers personalized nutrition plans for those with a current medical condition or those interested in preventive health and weight loss. Doylestown Health Nutrition Services specializes in nutrition therapy for diabetes, weight management, cardiovascular disease, digestive and eating disorders, pregnancy, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
By posting on the Dialogue Online blog, I understand and agree that my comments will be reviewed and may be removed if they are libelous or otherwise illegal, or contain abusive, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate material. Please do not share personal health or financial information on the blog. I also understand that my comments will be available for view by the public and may be copied, stored, reproduced or disclosed by a third party for any use. For more information, please review the Doylestown Hospital's commenting guidelines.