Thursday, July 5, 2012

Where to Buy Local Fruits and Vegetables

How many tomatoes do you see here?
Our household is on "tomato watch" - anxiously awaiting the reddening of this season's first tomato (the little ones don't count).  Until my bounty comes in, I'm trying to buy as local as I can.  The Washington Post read my mind and published this handy-dandy map of Farmer's Markets complete with location, hours and length of season, and a contact person.  That said, when shopping at a Farmer's Market, here are a few rules:
  • If you're trying to buy local, ASK where the goods came from.  Foods with stickers on them were most likely bought at a nearby grocery store before they came to your farmer's market...and the price of the goods was likely hiked up along the way.
  • If you're trying to buy local, think about what you're buying. Avocados (unfortunately) don't grow here.  Neither do oranges.  But some of that fresh corn from southern Maryland will go down like sweet butter this time of year..and tomatoes are just around the corner!
  • "Natural" doesn't mean "organic" ...but not all farmers can afford to go through the organic labeling process.  Again, if you're concerned about pesticide use on your fruits and vegetables, ask your farmer.  S/he should know...and if they don't...or they hedge on an answer, it's not a great sign.
  • Even supermarkets are picking up on the "locavore" trend!  Trader Joe's was advertising local produce the other day (though they still wrapped the tomatoes in plastic.  Stop that, please!)
Most of all, enjoy the delicious fresh goods of this summer.  It's a great time of year to eat right!

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