Up here at the Dimond Hill Farm we’ve been locavores for two hundred years or more. A lot of our friends and customers are locavores, and, over the years, we’ve even recruited a few supermarket diehards into our ranks. So … isn’t it about time you became a locavore?
Don’t worry, the conversion is easier than you think, and you won’t have to put up with any grass-chewing evangelist in bib overalls showing up at your doorway with nutritional literature and a basket of fresh produce. The main thing to keep in mind is that being a locavore is good for both your health and the health of the local farming industry. So, what do you say … are you ready to take the pledge?
Oh, so you want some more information first. I see … a cynic, ay … don’t quite trust an honest face like mine? Okay, okay, can’t really blame you. Even Jane raises an eyebrow whenever I start acting like I know what I’m talking about. So let’s hear what the experts say about the whole deal.
According to the Oxford American Dictionary (can’t get more official than that) the word “locavore” (sometimes spelled localvore) is a term for a person interested in eating foods that are “locally produced,” which is another way of saying food that is grown within 100 miles of where you lay your head at night.
While the practice goes back pretty much to the beginning of man, the movement is a relatively new response to the fact that the average food item these days travels more than 1,500 miles on its way to your supper table. The word “locavore” was coined during World Environment Day in 2005, and in 2007 the Oxford Dictionary named “locavore” its Word of the Year!
Some evidence of this trend is the increasing number of farmers’ markets, farm-to-table restaurants and supermarkets featuring local produce that have sprung up over the past decade. However, the practice is far from being just a trend, it’s a way of eating that makes good sense – both for you and your family, and for the local economy.
Here are a few resources that will help you on your way down the locavore pathway:
Strolling of the Heifers 2016, a Locavore Index produced by a Vermont group which ranks each state in terms of their commitment to local food (NH ranks 5th)
US Department of Agriculture Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food, a handy guide to local food resources and locavore information
Five Best Locavore Apps, a review of the top apps designed to provide locavores with local food source information, seasonal fruit and vegetable choices, and directions to your nearest farm stand
We’ve talked before about the health benefits of eating locally-grown foods, as well as the economic benefits of supporting and encouraging local farmers. But just in case you weren’t paying attention, here are the top seven benefits, as defined by the Michigan State University Extension:
- Locally grown food is full of flavor.When grown locally, the crops are picked at their peak of ripeness versus being harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store. Many times produce at local markets has been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.
- Eating local food is eating seasonally.Even though we wish strawberries were grown year round, the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased directly from a local grower. They are full of flavor and taste better than the ones available in the winter that have traveled thousands of miles and were picked before they were ripe.
- Local food has more nutrients.Local food has a shorter time between harvest and your table, and it’s less likely that the nutrient value has decreased. Food imported from far-away states and countries is often older, having traveled and sat in distribution centers before being delivered to your supermarket.
- Local food supports the local economy.The money that is spent with local farmers and growers all stays close to home and is reinvested with businesses and services in your community.
- Local food benefits the environment.By purchasing locally grown foods you help maintain farmland and green and/or open space in your community.
- Local foods promote a safer food supply.The more steps there are between you and your food source the more chances there are for contamination. Food grown in distant locations has the potential for food safety issues at harvesting, washing, shipping and distribution.
- Local growers can tell you how the food was grown.You can ask what practices they use to raise and harvest the crops. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about that food.
Well, likely more than you wanted to know about locavores, but there you go. If you are the type of person who wants to eat and serve your family the freshest, best tasting, most nutritious fruits and vegetables available, than you already may be a locavore. All you really need to do now is to get out to your local farm stand (we recommend the Dimond Hill Farm), and support all the hard working people who strive to bring you the best nature has to offer. And, of course, you need to take the locavore pledge.
So raise a piece of locally grown produce in your right hand and repeat after me:
I (state your name) do solemnly pledge to pry myself away from the supermarkets, visit my favorite farm stand, support my local farmer, feed my family the best darn food nature has to offer … and, to the limits of my endurance, read this blog faithfully. In the name of natural nutrition and real good eatin’, so help me Mother Nature.
Congratulations. Hopefully, you’ll honor that pledge by coming up to see us at the Dimond Hill Farm. We’re open seven days a week from 10 am to 6 pm!
Well, nuff said …