by Jennifer Maiser, editor
This post is for the folks who are just dipping their toe into the local eating world. We already know that there are great reasons to eat locally, but what is the best way to get started? Below are the main ways that I tell people they can get started with local eating.
And what better time to try this than summertime?
1. Frequent your farmers market. Find a local farmers market, grab some reusable bags, and head down to find local, in season fruit and vegetables from local farmers. The great thing about farmers markets is that they are not only a fabulous place to pick up your food for the week, but they are a fun way to shop.
2. Choose five foods that you can source locally. A good way to get a feel for your local foodshed is to figure out what your area is best at growing. Choose five foods and commit to eating those locally for a while, so that you can get your locavore feet wet in a manageable way. Stuck for ideas? Try looking for local cheese, eggs, dairy, potatoes, in-season tomatoes, or root vegetables like carrots and onions. These are foods that commonly can be grown in many different climates.
3. Sign up for a CSA. The term CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it's a fantastic way to support a local farmer and get fresh, local produce at the same time. You pay a subscription (usually either weekly or quarterly), and receive a weekly box of produce of what's in season at the farm. Want to find a CSA in your area? Check out Local Harvest.
4. Pickle, can, freeze or dehydrate! One way to be a locavore year-round is to preserve food while it's in season. Is there a glut of blueberries at your market? Buy when they're on sale, freeze them, and use them for muffins in the dead of winter. Canning doesn't have to be scary, and many locavores are canning in small batches in their homes. Start small with a one of the ideas from preserving website Punk Domestics.
5. Can't find locally grown? Try locally produced. Many items like bread, pastries, coffee and jams aren't always sourced with local ingredients. The next best thing is to buy them from local businesses: coffee purveyors who source their beans carefully and roast locally, bakers who buy the best wheat they can and make daily bread in the next town over, artisans who buy citrus from a reputable farm and make a local marmalade. You're still keeping some of your dollars local and supporting local businesses.