Dress the Table with Local Summer Produce
One of the best things that individuals can do for the environment, their communities, and their health is purchase locally grown produce. The world is becoming more environmentally and health conscious every day. There a number of these tasks which go hand in hand. There are numerous things all people can do to protect the environment that cost nothing extra to only slightly more than their normal routines.
Most individuals do not realize how produce reaches the grocery store. Many of these food items leave a very large footprint. Those which are grown in other states, or even other countries, require more energy to reach where you live. Consider how much fuel is required to ship tomatoes from one coast of the United States to another. Buying tomatoes from the local farmers market burns a much smaller quantity of fuel creating less carbon emissions.
When you purchase imported produce you are putting money into the economy of the area in which it was grown. When you purchase it from local farmers, you are investing into your own local economy. Community Supported Agriculture is direct to the consumer produce programs. This is a program in which community residence purchase a share of the projected harvest from a local farmer. In some cases, the produce is brought to your doorstep, while with others there is a designated pickup date, time, and location.
Locally grown produce is usually of a much higher quality as it is fresher and more nutritious. This is not always the case, so it is better to do a little research into the farming practices in your region. Many times local farmers use organic growing mediums or at the very least fewer chemicals than are used on commercially and massed produced food. Again, a little research is in order. The internet provides a simple and effective way to find the answers to these questions. Small scale, local farmers are generally very proud of their more natural growing methods and are happy to answer questions such as these in detail.
Fun and Flavorful
Other advantages which embrace several ideas are that locally grown produce is often more flavorful as well as fun. Many times vegetables and fruits grown by small farmers are juicier, have more intense flavor, are fresher, and have more nutritional content. These fruits and veggies are not only more delicious to eat as is, but can be more fun to cook with. Using only locally obtained items to prepare meals can present and exciting challenge.
Many local farmers allow consumers to come to their farms and pick the food themselves. This can be fun for friends, roommates, or the whole family providing exercise as well as quality time together. It also means that everyone involved in the meal preparations will have to determine what is available and what may be created from that specific item. For example, a list of recipes which call for fresh, juicy, red tomatoes is nearly endless. Some items, such as zucchini may be used to create both sweet and savory dishes. Grilled squash and zucchini bread are very popular favorites.