By Rebecca Meegan Means
Seems like the old idea of eating food from our gardens and our friend’s gardens has come back in style! I see signs of the Local Food Movement everywhere I look: it’s on TV, on the internet, on the radio, in magazines and books. It is an exciting thing when the power of our choices is reflected in popular media. There are many reasons to eat locally but I will mention just a few here:
Taste. Nothing says summer quite like a bite into a juicy red tomato fresh off the vine. The aroma of green that hits your nose just as you are about to take that bite, the amazing burst of flavor as the juice drips down your chin. Compare that to the tomato at a grocery store that was picked while hard and unripe, gassed to accelerate the ripeness (i.e. color), and then sat around for weeks and …well…there really is no comparison, is there? Most produce sold at local Growers’ Markets was picked that morning!
Supporting your local economy. Buying food from local famers keeps our dollars circulating locally and helps to further our growth and success as a community. When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction.
Supports responsible land development. When you buy local, you give those with local open space - farms and pastures - an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped. Small family-owned farms have a much lower ecological footprint than large agribusiness operations. Healthy soil is essential for us all.
Know what you are eating. People who eat locally find it easier to ask questions and get answers because the growers are easily accessible. Shouldn’t you know more about how your food was grown than how the latest Hollywood star was dressed yesterday?
Get in touch with the seasons. When you eat locally, you eat what’s in season. You’ll remember that tomatoes are the taste of summer and that fall is coming when the last of the figs fade away….
In Wakulla County, we have a Growers’ Market every Tuesday beginning at 3pm at Purple Martin Nurseries on Crawfordville Hwy. There are even more Growers’ Markets in Leon County. A great website for learning about markets and farms is www.localharvest.org. For more ideas on eating local come to the 4th Annual Green Living Expo & Education Fair May 8th, from 9am-4pm at Riversprings Middle School. This will be the 2nd year a Growers’ Market will be offered at the Expo where you can purchase delicious fresh food and meet some of our local farmers from here in Wakulla County and the surrounding area.