With all the buzz recently about Food, Inc (I swear I’m seeing it this week!), I have been spending a lot of time considering the importance of supporting locally grown food.
Growing up, I remember traveling to a blueberry patch with my mother. Though I refused to eat a single berry myself, I’ll never forget the sensation of being warmed by the sun, filling a basket while kneeling in the midst of rows of bushes. As a child, it felt like a paradise, a place all too removed from my suburban reality.
Local food wasn’t a complete mystery. Some August evenings, we would walk a few streets from our house to purchase fresh corn from a Connecticut farm for dinner. I would dutifully shuck it on our backyard porch, painstakingly working to pull every last “hair” off the kernels.
Some of my favorite travel experiences have involved browsing local food markets. Striding through the vivid colors and overpowering smells at Istanbul’s Egyptian spice bazaar, gazing at endless berry baskets and dark breads at the Viktualienmarkt in Munich. My parents and I spent an afternoon in Vienna noshing dried fruits and artisan cheeses on our way through the city’s Naschmarkt.
I know some people who dread grocery shopping. But if you’re willing to try fresh foods, I think browsing a farmer’s market is one of the most rewarding ways to spend a grocery trip. Knowing exactly to whom your money is going, from where your food is coming, and exactly how it arrived is a right we should never have sacrificed.
Plus, food that hasn’t traveled far always has the richest natural flavors. Taste and environmental friendliness? I’m sold.
When was the last time you visited a farmer’s market? Is buying local a priority for you?