It seems lately, that more and more we
are hearing that we should eat in season and buy locally
grown produce. What is the difference between apples bought
at the farmers' market
from Stan Devoto grown in Sebastopol and harvested in September
and apples from an anonymous apple grower in Washington State
bought in the grocery store in May? Have you ever done a
taste test? There is a big disparity of flavors here. The
apple grown locally has been allowed to fully ripen on the
tree and was picked a few days before you eat it. The apple
from out of state was picked long before its sugars were
even thinking about maturing and it may have been in cold
storage for up to a year. There is a strong flavor factor
at work here. That local apple is going to blow your mind
with its taste. The other one is going to be discarded after
a couple bites.
We all know that produce starts to lose nutrition when it is picked so
ultimately the sooner it gets into our bodies to fuel our muscles and brains,
the better for us.
When you eat grapes in January or February
or even December, you are eating grapes from Chile. When you eat Strawberries
in the winter they are coming up from Mexico. Do you realize
that they still use pesticides that have been banned in the
US? Have you ever eaten the tomatoes from the grocery store
in the winter? Not so great. How about the heirlooms in season
from the farmers market? Tasting the first strawberries coming
out of Watsonville in May? How about the first Brentwood
corn and peaches? The seasonal foods we wait for and anticipate
the first bites of... these are the ones we remember
long after the season is over and wait for with bated breath
because we know what they will taste like in season, bought
from a local grower at the farmers market.
There are a lot of reasons to get out
to the farmers' market.
When you buy local you are voting with your food dollars.
This does not go by unnoticed by people that care where you
spend your money. You are saying that fresh, organic, seasonal,
locally grown and small farms are important to you.
When you buy locally grown and produced food, that is in
season you are saying that you do not want incredible amounts
of fossil fuels and energy being wasted on transporting food
from other states and other countries. We have the best produce
in the world grown within a hundred miles of our homes.
In California over the years, voters have said that we do
not want pesticides and herbicides on our food, putting the
health of farm workers at risk and contaminating our drinking
water. We have voted to make living and working conditions
better for our farmers and migrant farm workers and we have
set a standard that is exclusive to California.
With the number of farmers' markets that we have
here in Northern California and the Bay Area, (over 60) we
have the best of local, seasonal eating at our fingertips
almost every day of the week. As the shopper and buyer for
your family you have the most influence on teaching them
to eat fresh, local, unprocessed food. Teach them well. Take
advantage of the best and get out to your local farmers' market.
We have a gold mine here!