Have you experienced the joy of growing your own vegetables and tasting your garden-fresh produce? Do you prefer your local farmer’s vegetables better than store bought veggies?
What about that juicy tasting blueberry you ate right after you picked it? Or that delicious apple from the apple orchard?
Local produce does not only taste better and give us a feeling of joy from either growing it ourselves, visiting a local farm or farmers market, or spending our Sunday afternoon at an apple orchard…It is better!
A research paper published by GlycoScience and Nutrion writes that the average fruit or vegetable travels 1,500 to 2,500 miles from the farm to your plate. While kept at most advantageous temperatures, all fruits and vegetables steadily lose vitamins while in storage.
For instance, as written in the research done by Jane Ramberg, MS and Bill McAnalley, published by GlycoScience and Nutrion, “green beans refrigerated after harvest lost more than 90% ascorbic acid following 16 days of refrigeration; broccoli lost about 50% of both ascorbic acid and beta-carotene following 5 days of storage.”
Beside the fact that store bought, non local vegetables and fruit lose their nutritional value during transport, they are less nutritional to begin with. They are chosen first and foremost for yield (how many pounds, pecks, bushels, etc. are harvested per acre), growth rate, and ability to withstand long-distance transport, these traits benefitting national and international produce distribution. Unfortunately this costs the produce its nutritional quality, according to research done by Halweil B., titled “Still No Free Lunch: Nutrient levels in U.S. food supply eroded by pursuit of high yields,” published by The Organic Center. Farmers who grow local produce favor taste, nutrition and diversity over ship-ability when choosing varieties.
How to buy local?
Eat what’s in season
(Visit this link for a full list of seasonal produce: https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/nutrition-through-seasons/seasonal-produce)
Visit your local Farmer’s market
Grow your own produce
Visit local you-pick farms
Visit local farms
Find a store that lists origin of produce
Shop at organic supermarkets that sell local products
Join CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
Find restaurants that use local produce
Aerogardenblog. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Oct. 2016.
“Is Local More Nutritious?” It Depends.” Chgeharvard. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Oct. 2016.
Pirog, Rich, Timothy Van Pelt, Kamyar Enshayan, and Ellen Cook. “Food, Fuel, and Freeways: An Iowa Perspective on How Far Food Travels, Fuel Usage, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” Http://ngfn.org/. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Oct. 2016.
By Marie Fleur Van den Heuvel, Ramapo College Intern to Karen Ranzi, M.A.