Three good reasons to eat local and in season

I just swung by the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market this morning and picked up a flat of these perfectly sweet, perfectly ripe, beautifully colored strawberries. Yes, damn near perfect strawberries. And no, I’ve never found these at the grocery stores unless they’re selling local and in season, and they still don’t look this good. Usually I end up staring at unripe green and red strawberries that I bring home just to find out that they are pretty much flavorless. And how much did I pay for them! More than they deserve!

Here’s an example of what we got from the grocery store early this week and in season.

strawberries_storebought3strawberries_storebought1

…sad little fellas.

So let me give you three good reasons to eat local produce that’s in season.

First, it’s usually cheaper. Cha ching! The reason, because producing crops out of season requires more labor and more care to keep it fresh until it makes the journey to your grocery store shelves.

Second, anything grown in season just tastes better. The main reason for this is that most out of season produce is usually shipped unripe so that it can survive the miles of journey to your grocery store and sit some more. When produce is picked too early, it doesn’t have time to develop the nutrients or flavor that it would if it were to get a chance to mature while still connected to the nutrient rich soils that it thrives on.

And finally, buying in season and locally supports local farmers. This is a most awesome thing. Not only does buying local ensure that you always have fresh food options outside of your typical chain grocery store, but buying local means that you can see and talk to the people who grew your food. You can ask them questions about the food, and they know, because they grew it!

Now figuring out what to do with all of these sweet bites. That’s always the dilemma. Produce is sometimes only in season for a couple of months, but I want to enjoy these berries year round.

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I’ll let you know what I decide to do to make them last. I’m thinking about a few different options. Right now, I’m just going to sit down and enjoy a pint.

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