As we near the peak of local fruit and vegetable harvests, it's a great time to revisit the benefits of buying and eating locally. We must concede that America’s food growing and distribution system has brought us fresh produce of all kinds throughout the year. Unfortunately, the very thing that we appreciate in the winter curses us in the summer. We still see blueberries, strawberries, potatoes, apples and several other products from California, Idaho and Washington in our markets even when they are available from Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and New Jersey farms.
It's difficult to shut off that pipeline of far-away produce even when our local pipeline can meet our needs with fresher, better tasting and more nutritious food. So don't be afraid to tell your market manager that you would appreciate that locally or regionally grown food. Farmers' markets and buying direct from the grower themselves is very easy at this time of the year, too. Beyond the other obvious downsides to shipping food across the continent, there are other concerns raised by an over-reliance on California produce especially.
It may not be perfect but these problems are much less common among locally or regionally produced food. Pennsylvania never sees droughts of the magnitude experienced in California. Smaller operations tend to use less pesticides and some practice organic farming. Local and regional farmers keep all our food dollars close to home, while keeping a larger portion of the profits for themselves.
For more on locally produced food, checkout Who's Your Farmer in Blair County, PA? on Facebook.