Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Portrait of the Artist: Why Local?

I've read lots of articles discussing the environmental, economic, and health benefits of eating local food. These benefits are wonderful, and I like that I'm helping out the planet, local farmers, and my own health with my locavore lifestyle. But these aren't the reasons why I choose to buy local. 

I buy the majority of our food each week at farmer's markets for one simple reason...because I enjoy it immensely.
Local Goodies!
First of all, I love farms. When I was a little girl, my babysitter moved her family from the suburbs of New York to a farm in Pennsylvania. I have fond memories of visiting the farm, shelling peas for dinner and eating grapes still warm from the sun directly off of the vines. And then there was the summer when my parents sent me to Farmers Camp at Muscoot Farm. I milked cows and collected eggs from chickens and worked in their garden...it was the best camp ever.
Old Barn at Muscoot Farm
There's something magical about eating with the seasons. I love anticipating the first sweet strawberries of the springtime, the gorgeous rainbow of heirloom tomatoes in the summer, and delicious squash of all different shapes, sizes and textures in the autumn. Having to wait until foods are in season makes them seem so much more precious and special.
The First Asparagus of the Season
It makes me happy buying eggs and milk and cheese from farmers who talk lovingly about their chickens and cows and goats (and often have photographs of their wonderful animals to show me!) I've seen enough documentary footage of the inhumane treatment of animals living on large-scale factory farms to haunt me for a lifetime.
Local Cheeses
I often discover things at the Farmer's Market that I haven't seen anywhere else...purple carrots, golden beets, colored eggs, unusual herbs, hand-crafted raw milk cheeses...every trip to the market is an adventure!
Purple Scallions
The food just tastes better. Fruits are sweeter, and veggies are crisper when they are picked the day before you buy them (instead of being picked and then shipped across the country or around the world to then sit on grocery shelves for who-knows-how-long, waiting for you to buy them).
The Most Carroty-Tasting Carrots I've Ever Eaten
And last (but definitely not least)...I love shopping at farmer's markets because it inspires me as an artist. It's amazing all the brilliant colors, unusual shapes and remarkable textures that can be found in foods that are locally grown!
Yellow Oyster Mushrooms...I'll be drawing these!
Every locavore has their own reasons for eating locally grown foods....these are mine. Hopefully I've inspired you to eat more local foods!

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