First off what is a locavore? I had no idea the word existed until I saw it discussed on the news today. A locavore is “a person who attempt to eat only foods grown locally.”* The word was just coined 3 years ago, but made it into dictionaries last year and was even declared the Oxford America Dictionary’s 2007 Word of the Year. Most locavores define “locally” as within 100 miles.
The Hauns are no where near becoming locavores. It would be too tough of a challenge for us to pull off. However, we do buy most of our vegetables & fruit from our local Farmer’s Market and highly recommend it. [insert Stuff White People Like joke here]
Trey and I hit the Macon State Farmer’s Market weekly and have befriended the couple that owns and runs Branner Produce. Royce and Juana Branner are great to always have suggestions on how to cook different vegetables and have introduced us to a couple new ones. Trey is quite fond of Juana too – probably because she is always slipping him a free plum or apple.
For us that’s probably the biggest perk to buying local; you meet nice, real hard-working people who are knowledgeable about their produce. I’ve seen some big grocery store chain commercials in the past that brag about how friendly, and knowledgeable their staff are. However, the big chains couldn’t come close to the service that the Branners provide.
There are some great other perks to buying local produce. First, is cost – since the produce at your local farmer’s market hasn’t been shipped thousands of miles it usually costs less. Another cost factor is that the sales tax is included. So the tomatoes for $2 are $2. At the big grocery stores, they may be $2 but when you checkout you would pay $2.14 or more after tax is added in.
Another plus… better tasting produce. Seriously! When veggies and fruit are picked and shipped long distances, they are often picked before they are ripe so that they don’t spoil during the long voyage and they can sit on a store shelf for a while before going bad (in the US the average distance food travels from farm to shopping cart is over 1500 miles!). Local produce is often picked at the peak of ripeness less than 48 hours before you buy it. It has a fresher taste and is even more nutritious since it has been on the vine/tree longer and in a box less.
* from Webster’s New Millennium™ Dictionary of English