The Ancient Paths Family Farm

Getting Back to Basics in Health and Nutrition

Eating Fresh Local Produce

Posted by theancientpathsfamilyfarm on April 6, 2008

In an effort to eat fresh whole foods, we often wonder how we’re supposed to get fresh local produce all year long.  We don’t always know what is fresh in our local area, but we do know that strawberries aren’t fresh and local products in January.  The National Resource Defense Council has a helpful site where we can find out what products are available in our area by season.  For example, here in Washington State

What’s Fresh

Washington: Early April

  • Apples*
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic*
  • Green Onions
  • Herbs
  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Winter Pears

* Indicates availability from local hothouse or storage

Now, contrast that with this little blurb from the NRDC site:

Here’s a hotlist of commonly air-freighted foods and their country of origin. Try to get these at a local farmer’s market when they’re in season. (They’ll taste a lot better, too).

  • Asparagus (Peru)
  • Bell peppers (Netherlands)
  • Tomatoes (Netherlands)
  • Blackberries (Chile)
  • Blueberries (Argentina)
  • Cherries (Chile)
  • Raspberries (Chile)
  • Peaches (Chile)
  • Nectarines (Chile)
  • Papayas (Brazil)

** In our county, Raspberries are distinguished as being produced in larger quantities here than anywhere else in the US.  We are privileged to have “fresh frozen” raspberries and strawberries in some of our local markets all year long.

Fresh and local produce not only tastes better but they are better for you.  They have not been transported over long distances which means that they have been allowed to ripen on the vine/bush/plant long enough to contain the vitamins and minerals that we expect them to have.  Produce that is shipped over long distances aren’t allowed to ripen before being harvested (think of green bananas in the grocery store).  But another big benefit is that your hard earned money stays in your local community – your neighbors benefit from your purchase.  And if you’d like, I’m sure that local farmers wouldn’t mind your stopping by their farm to see how your food is grown.  And in the summer months, go as a family to pick berries for yourselves.  Make it a science or social studies lesson for the kids, or for yourself.  Know where your food comes from, how it was grown – be an educated consumer.

It’s time for local farmers markets to start up again and I’d like to encourage my readers to frequent them, if they are able.  Not only will you benefit, but your community members will too.  In our area, the local farmers markets are open on Saturday’s, making it unavailable for those of us who keep Shabbat.  But they do have a Wednesday market as well.  Take a few minutes to look into what is available in your local area and feed your family more fresh, local whole foods.  It really is the way we were intended to live.

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