Summer has finally arrived, and with its arrival many people become even more excited about and passionate towards the weekly abundance of fresh produce and food available.
At Nutiva, we are excited and passionate about these same things. The Nutiva Manifesto highlights many of them:
But what exactly does it mean to support local foods and farmers, shop the farmers market or join a CSA?
Supporting Local Food and Farmers
Supporting local food and farmers means that the food you eat is grown and produced in your local area, and that the money you spend for that food benefits local farmers and producers. There are many reasons to support local.
Here are just 3 reasons:
- Locally grown food tastes better because it has had less time in transit and/or less time to sit around. This state of freshness also ensures that the food stays packed with its intended and initial nutrients.
- Locally grown food helps build communities because when you buy directly from the farmer, you are building a relationship while also helping to support local farmers who are providing for you as much as they are providing for their own families.
- Locally grown food is good for the environment and for sustainability because good farmers ensure that the land is well kept with minimal, if any, usage of chemicals and fertilizers. These practices can sequester carbon, and they can also help ensure proper natural habitats for wildlife.
The Farmers Market
The Farmers Market is a place where local farmers, food producers and other vendors come together in a centralized area to sell their goods to locals. In addition to the benefits listed above, a huge benefit of attending the weekly farmers market is that each week you could potentially find and try one new thing that you might not have otherwise discovered. Moringa anyone?
As an added bonus, the farmers market allows you to be outside, enjoying the sun and soaking up that Vitamin D!
5 Tips and Tricks for Shopping the Farmers Market:
- Know that not everything at a farmers market is certified organic. If that’s important to you, be sure to ask prior to purchasing, and if it’s not, find out about the farming practices. Often times, small producers cannot afford organic certification although they maintain organic farming practices.
- Bring your own bags and/or coolers. Carry with you several reusable bags. If you think you might be purchasing meat, fish, eggs or other things that should stay cold/frozen, be sure to bring along a cooler or freezer bag as well.
- Shop early for first and prime pickings.
- Shop late for deals. Many times farmers will want to get rid of the day’s goods, so you will likely have bargaining power towards the end of the market for leftover items.
- Leave the $100 bill at home. Most vendors at the farmers market are only able to break smaller bills of up to $20, so be sure to bring the appropriate cash and change.
Joining a CSA
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and they allow for city residents to have direct access to high quality, fresh produce grown locally by regional farmers.
“When you become a member of a CSA, you’re purchasing a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer. Weekly or bi-weekly, from June until October or November, your farmer will deliver that share of produce to a convenient drop-off location in your neighborhood.”
One of the main differences between the farmers market and a CSA is selection. When you attend a farmers market you choose what you want to buy on any given week, whereas if you are a part of a CSA, the selections are made for you and always based on what’s in season + mother nature’s cooperation.
Both the farmers market and CSA support local food and farmers.
Ready to support local food and farmers, attend a farmers market and/or join a local CSA?
Here are 6 wonderful resources to help you get started:
- USDA Farmers Markets Directory Search
- Local Harvest Farmers Market Search
- Local Harvest Family Farms Search
- Local Harvest CSA Search
- Local Harvest (other) Local Food Events
- Farmstand app
Question: How do you support local food and farmers? Do you attend a local farmers market? Are you a member of a CSA?