Save and Go Green: Local Produce

Farmers Market
Photo by nataliemaynor.

I go to a local farmers’ market every weekend because I love fresh produce. The taste of the food I buy is unmatched by any grocery store that I go to. I have even heard Alton Brown from the Food Network say on his show that large strawberry farmers only produce for looks not taste. Even though taste is a huge factory, it is not the point of this article. The article will be geared towards answering the following two questions: does buying locally promote green lifestyle and most importantly, will it save me money over buying produce from the grocery store?

I had heard various segments on the radio about how our travels far to get here, but I never realized just how far. Apparently, our food travels an average of 1,500 miles between the farm where it was grown and your refrigerator. Much of the food we buy in the grocery store that usually could be bought locally is still shipped in from other parts of the country. Why not just buy from local farmers to get fresher produce that will taste better? I can only guess that cost must be the major factor into their decision. The amount of pollution that is occurring from the food’s transportation seems extremely wasteful. Also, many major farmer don’t use sustainable or organic methods of farming.

A huge plus I find when buying local produce is that you can actually talk to the farmer that grew the food you are buying. You can just ask them the types of farming methods they use and if pesticides are used.

You can save also save a bundle when buying local produce. One food that I love to eat is tomatoes. They are ridiculously expensive at the grocery store, usually $2-$4 a pound. Thats way too much to spend on tomatoes may or may not taste like crap. The tomatoes I buy at my local market are about $2.50 for about 5. That’s a huge savings over the grocery store and they taste better. In general, many things you can buy locally will be at a fraction of the cost of comparable products at the grocery store.

On the flip side, the grocery store is a little more convenient as you can buy produce whenever you want. Farmers’ markets and local farmers can sometimes be a far drive away or only be open certain days of the week. This can lead to buying produce too far in advance and it can go bad before you get a chance to eat it. Also, grocery stores carry a much wider range of produce that you would normally find at a local produce stand.

My rule of thumb when it comes to buying produce is to buy them locally while it is in season and get any reminding produce they don’t carry (like bananas) at the grocery store. Also, don’t buy too much produce just because it looks fresh. I have done this in the past and I regret it every time.

You can check out my article on Farmers’ Markets to find farmers in your area selling local produce.

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    • Jenn
    • July 21st, 2008

    Farmer’s market is indeed a wonderful idea. I can find organic meat and diary products at my local farmer’s market. They are a little pricier than grocery stores, but after I tasted the fresh mozzarella and ice cream I don’t think I ever want to go back to the refrigerated aisle. Plus I don’t have to worry about hormones in the products I’m feeding to the kids! Love your blog!

  1. Every second Saturday morning, best to get there early at 6am before it gets crowded, we buy our fruit, veggie, fish and meat supply from local farmers’ market. It took us some time to plan out how much of what to buy but the challenge was worthy for having to eat and cook with fresh and healthy stuff suits heaps.

  2. farmers market baby!

  3. Not only is the food better you also know where it is from. Most stores can not tell you where the food comes from and after some of the problems they have had i will buy local food every time i can.

  4. I like buying local produce. This way i know where it comes from and i know it does not waste energy being trucled or shiped around the world. I also know it is fresh not weeks old.

  5. I do agree that people have to buy local produce. Surely, it depends on the country. Maybe, for several countries, it needs contribution from the governments. In this case, the regulations from the government might influence the real action.

  6. Local produce is usually fresher as well as having a lower carbon footprint.

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