Local produce has always been around, local farmers have always been growing and producing, but somehow over the years we stopped buying it. The excitement of trying new “foreign” foods, the emergence of supermarkets containing almost every food you could ever want and prices have drastically changed the way we shop. Small shops are dwindling away and farmers have had to change the ways they do business. Take a look in your kitchen, where did you shop this week? Where did your fruit come from? Who looked after your chicken and what type of life did it have? Is anything local?!
I absolutely love Farm Shops (my husband will tell you that), whenever we are driving around and I see one a cry comes out of my mouth “Farm shop, Farm shop” and often my lovely, obliging husband will pull over and let me browse, smell, pick up foods and drool over yummy things. Living in Hampshire there are many Farm Shops off the beaten track, but also my local butcher sells local meat, a well known supermarket shop nearby had local strawberries in last week and some of our farm shops deliver weekly, plus our local chickens live at the end of my garden 😉 If you look around your area I bet you can find a way to get some local food. Look out for farmers markets and food shows too.
Local produce is any food that has been grown, raised, cooked, baked or produced within your locality.
So what are the benefits of eating local produce?
Here’s my thoughts, but please do add to them by commenting below…
1. Usually local produce has been well looked after – animal will have had space to roam, have been fed on healthy foodstuff and provide quality, tasty meat. Fruit and veggies will be grown as naturally as possible.
2. Buying locally is eco-friendly, less transport costs, you can even go and pick it up from the farm or have it delivered direct to you from the field.
3. Food is fresher, so tastier. The fresher your fruit and veggies the better they are nutritionally.
4. You are supporting your local farmers, so supporting your community and economy. Rather than supporting the pockets of your local supermarket 😉
5. Often farm shops and farmers markets have a great range of different foods – I’ve recently had watercress sausages, locally made biltong and some amazing apricot liqueur.
6. Food festivals and markets give you a chance to try before you buy and get ideas on recipes and cooking from the producers.
7. Buying what is in season can be cheaper. Stock up when things are in season, cook and freeze for later on or wrap and store veggies if they are suitable.
So how about taking up the challenge…try shopping locally for even some of your shop this month.