This Earth Day consider making a pledge to buy more locally-grown food. Many people have discovered the multiple benefits of buying food directly from local farmers. These markets and food co-ops are springing up all over Tennessee. Nothing tastes better than fresh produce straight from the farm, but that’s just one of the highlights of buying locally.
Food sold at local farms is in season for that particular area. Plus, it has just been harvested and didn’t have to travel a long distance, so it’s fresher and retains more nutrients. The fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak, so they even look and taste better. Because of food preservation technology, most foods are available year-round in the grocery store and the products don’t vary by season. However, to get the most flavor and nutritional value it’s best to eat according to the natural seasons.
Not only does buying locally offer better produce, it also puts money back into the local economy. At the local farmer’s markets, farmers keep more of the profits. When they have more money to spend, they often spend it locally, which builds a stronger economy for everyone. The economy benefits, but so does the environment. Buying food locally reduces the shipping costs and fuel consumption to get food into the big chain grocery stores.
Investing in local farmers by purchasing fresh produce is a great idea and today’s storage options are quite advanced. Fresh foods do best in a humid, yet chilly climate to maintain their integrity, while frozen foods require dry, frigid air to prevent decay and freezer burn. Some of the latest refrigerators have both refrigerator and freezer areas with their own dedicated sealed system with a compressor and evaporator. Fresh and frozen foods maintain their integrity much longer because each one can be in their own ideal environment.
It’s easy to see that buying locally benefits everyone. You can find more information on local farmers’ markets at picktnproducts.org.