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Eating Local

There’s been an explosion of Farmers Markets in towns all over the country.  It seems every size town now has seen the benefits of having one in their town center and it stems from the demand of knowing where our food comes from.  The small-time farmer is slowly disappearing, giving way to bigger corporate owned and farmers markets are a way to help boost them.  When I say eat local, I’m saying eat fruits and veggies that are grown no more than 150 miles from your location.  


How your food is grown is still important.  The amount of heavy pesticides used on the foods you consume matters, so getting to talk with the farmer that grows your food lets you get to know how your food is grown.  This gives you more control over your food choices that reflect good lifestyle decisions.  Shopping for health rather than price and convenience shows a level of awareness that is hoped for.  As more people understand that nutrition is not a magic bullet or even a fad, it is a way to recover a natural vitality that is often lost in the way we purchase food.  Eating local and seasonally is a way to become more mindful and intune with your body the way we used to be.  Way back before refrigeration we ate with the seasons. I’m not saying not to supplement your favorite foods when they aren’t in season, but let that be a side, not the main attraction of your meal.  


Our bodies are amazing things and they crave things, whether we know it or not!  We want warming things in the winter and cool things in the summer.  Think about what grows in those seasons, it’s amazing.  From January to about March things are leaner, just about the only things that grow are squash, Brussel sprouts, kale and cabbage.  This is the perfect time to try veggies that you might not have tried before.  You might think you don’t like kale, but you just might not like the way they were cooked.  I can’t stand raw carrots, but I do like them roasted.  Experiment, find recipes that you haven’t tried before. 


I get that supermarkets are way more convenient to run to and going to a farmer’s market takes a lot more planning. But going to a farmer’s market you will always get your food fresh and in season!  There is this myth that shopping at a farmer’s market is more expensive than at a supermarket and that can be true, but as a whole, it isn’t.  Where it is more expensive is when you purchase meat.  Local meat and eggs are more than you would spend for conventional meat and eggs at the store.  The reason is that the herds are smaller and they are more careful in how they treat the animals and what they feed them.  Again, think about why processed foods and conventional meats are so inexpensive.  It’s because they are made/raised in bulk and not good for you in general.  The closer you are to the harvest/raising of your food the more nutrients will remain.


With the explosion of commercial farmers, the small local farmers are slowly disappearing and with it traditional methods of planting, growing, and harvesting.  When it comes to commercial farming, even those certified organic, they rely on chemical pest control.  I have personally seen reactions to these chemicals and would rather avoid them.  Most local farmers at the farmer’s market use methods that have been employed for generations and aren’t usually commercial chemicals.  That is the beauty of farmer’s markets, you get to speak with the actual farmers or those that work at the farms and learn about their growing process.  Or am I the only one who geeks out on that? Okay, maybe I am, but knowing where your food comes from is important and shows a high level of food awareness that you are striving for.


Right now is a revolution in shopping local and shopping local farmers is no exception to that.  I would rather spend my money in local shops that support local farmers and artists than big corporations that don’t turn around and invest in my local community.  I love going to farmer’s markets and looking at the innovations of my local community.  Even if it’s not something I am looking for at that moment, there are others out there that are.  What I love most is the younger generations that get out there and sell things they have created.  I recently bought some face oil from a 12 year old that started her own business because she made it for herself and others seemed to really like it.  I love that.  That young girl has money she didn’t have before and can do things she wasn’t able to before.  Farmer’s markets can be more than just food, but it is neighbors supporting neighbors that is what is important. 

Niki Claybrook holistic nurtitionist