Guest post: Local produce vs. store bought

Soli here. It’s guest post time again! This week is one from Mandy. Yes THAT Mandy. While she does not formally follow a traditional foods diet, she is definitely interested in nutrition and giving her family the best food she can possibly get. Grass fed and pastured meat is not exactly friendly to her budget (though I am hoping to help her find ways to do it), but in the meantime, she is able to take advantage of Florida’s fecundity in her own way. She proves my (in progress) manifesto that real food is indeed for everyone.

In my book it is not even a contest, local produce wins hands down.

I have a very large family, made up of 4 children and 3 adults, and need to be able to cover everyone’s needs. I have found the quantity and quality sold at the local flea market produce isle (nothing but locally grown fruits and veggies) surpasses any supermarket mass produced and shipped fruits and veggies.

Some people scoff and think “I can do better at my local grocery store”, but boy they are so wrong. There are so many pros to local produce. I live in Florida so the time frame for fresh produce is quite large. I take the time to go to my local flea market every Sunday and get fresh fruits and veggies for the family. When I walk into the area my eyes feast in the variety of all the wonderful plant life my local farmers grow.

The variety is a wonderful thing but what is the best is all the vitamins and nutrients you know you are getting when it is locally grown. I know that my local farmers care for the soil and the food they produce, they have to because it usually sustains their family as well. The shelf life of the food is longer because you do not have food that has been transported from across the country. I can buy a head of romaine lettuce at the flea market and it will last in my fridge for 3 weeks. That never happens with grocery store food, it usually lasts a week tops before browning in my fridge.

I have found that the local grown produce is also bigger. You can buy beans, potatoes, lettuce, and tomatoes and they are 2 times bigger than what is at the store, and you cannot beat the prices. Thirty dollars goes way farther when buying locally.

The best reason is you are supporting your local farms, there is no better reason than that. When I shop at the flea market I am buying the food from the farmer and their families, I know that I will get answers for any questions I have pertaining to the food (even some really good recipes and cooking instructions).
I suggest you look around and see what is your area and support your local farms.

Elder daughter D with a melon

Younger daughter K also loves melons.

Mandy lives in north central Florida, where she works as an administrator in a mental health facility. She shares her home with her husband, two daughters, nephew, niece, and her father. She reads whenever she can, spends a lot of time walking, and enjoys a good video game when she gets the time.

Have you contributed yet to my birthday wish of 500 Facebook fans?. You can also follow me on Twitter.

I’m sharing this post at Traditional Tuesdays, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, and Monday Mania.


6 responses to “Guest post: Local produce vs. store bought

  1. This post came at a perfect time! I used to live on Northern Florida too, and always bought produce locally! Thank you Mandy for sharing your perspective!

  2. Not all “local produce” is created equal, either! “Know your Farmer, Know your food” is a good motto.

    Many of the “local” producers who attend farmers market with us have little to differentiate themselves from the huge factory farms which grow the cheap, shipped in offerings of the supermarket. Just because they call themselves a “family farm,” evoking images of dad and mom in the garden weeding and picking and Granny on the porch shelling peas, doesn’t mean that they don’t run hundreds of acres, with huge fields of each crop tended by hired hands on mechanized equipment, often using chemicals.

    And those “pushing the season” offerings of tomatoes and cucumbers weeks or months ahead of what used to be their season are likely greenhouse grown and more than likely hydroponic and not organic.

    I’m not saying that certified organic is God — most of the certified organic producers I know GOT the certification so as to command a higher price for their produce over those of us who use old fashioned natural methods, avoid chemicals of all sorts but haven’t paid the price nor jumped through the legal hoops.

    While all farmers need to make a living, as a small market gardener, who attends market much as my grandparents did — to supplement our income with what I grow over and above what feeds my family — I want to put in a plug for patronage of the smaller growers. Our stands most likely don’t look like the display at your supermarket (though our large competitors’ may well give that appearance) each single lettuce head, bunch of carrots, tomato or cucumber you buy from us has a much larger impact on our daily lives and our budget that the same small amount spent at a larger farm. We may be wondering where the next tank of gas for the tractor — or for the truck to come to market — is coming from, and your $5 purchase puts us that much closer to a full tank.

    As a small grower, I love talking to my customers and learning what they like to eat, what “old fashioned” varieties of bean or pea they have been looking for, what they cannot find elsewhere — and if it can be found and grown in my climate, I’ll be on the next year’s seed order. We share recipes (that goes both ways) and even growing tips, as many of our customers also have small backyard gardens… just like the growers at your flea market stall.

  3. prefer local myself

  4. Pingback: Video: Make Your Own Sourdough Starter | I Believe In Butter

  5. I have a scientific study proving why farm fresh is better if your interested!

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