My first job was working at the Eastern Farmer's Market on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, selling produce for Marshall Farms. I think I was ten years old? Back then I didn’t eat much of the produce I was selling. Eggplant looked terrifying to me. Squash was untouchable. Even tomatoes were too strange, although I gladly handed out samples, explaining to customers that some were sweet, some tasted more acidic… parroting what I’d heard people say, and faking a southern accent. City folk trust southern produce.
There are a lot of socially conscious reasons to buy local, but my primary motive? Taste. Nutrition. A better, fresher, more flavorful and delicious peach than you could ever find at Food Lion. An heirloom tomato from Takoma Park that takes a sandwich that was alright and makes it heavenly. Blackberries too delicious to talk about without blushing. ..I wish I’d taken a picture before I ate them all. The carnivores will find happiness, too, enjoying flavorful, fresh cuts of beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, and so on. The fresh butter is delightful. The eggs are scrumptious and hooray! –chemical-free. A necessity for allergy-crushed kids such as myself. My kitchen currently boasts farm-fresh peaches, cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, two types of squash, zucchini, cayenne, turkey, butter, and eggs. There are some things worth spoiling yourself over, and I think splurging on food that’s healthy and delicious is more than worth it.
I admit I’m selfish in that I target much of my activism toward personal benefit. Obesity-prevention initiatives to lower the costs of fruit and vegetables by taxing sugary drinks? Sign me up. Network neutrality to protect my precious internet? I’m there.
By buying local food, I get much bang for my buck. The food is delicious and nutritious. I know most of my money goes right to the farmer. I’m stimulating the local economy. I’m preserving the genetically diverse and thus varying flavors of heirloom produce instead of mass produced food only in the most easily shipped and preserved varieties. I’m taking care of my environment by taking trucks off the road and conserving energy. As I sit eating a piece of cantaloupe, I feel conscious and spoiled all at once. Glorious.
For my Blacksburg crew, the market is on the corner of Roanoke and Draper Roads and is open on Wednesdays from 2pm-7pm and Saturdays from 8am-2pm. Come out August 22 for the Tomato Contest and taste over 40 different tomatoes!
For everyone else, find local farmers’ markets by typing your zipcode into LocalHarvest.org.
Enough from me. Why do YOU buy local food?