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Why You Should Buy Local Food

Now that spring and summer are upon us, there are so many great seasonal fruits and veggies out that deserve some recognition!

As a dietitian, I strongly believe in shopping local and supporting our local farmers, and farm-to-table establishments. It’s important to know where our food comes from.

So today, I’m combining my love for good, nutritious food and sustainability, because I think this is a very important topic! 

Local Farmers Market
Local Farmers Market

Some Benefits to Buying Local Food:

  • You’re supporting yourself. Studies have shown that locally owned businesses recirculate a greater share of every dollar in the local economy (Source). Plus, you’re cutting out the middle man and the farmer can circulate his profits throughout the economy.
  • You’re supporting and investing in your community, laying down the foundation for the future. Encourage the local success and prosperity!
  • Reducing the environmental impact. Food doesn’t have to travel as far, requiring less preservatives and transportation costs associated with food. Also, there is less carbon dioxide emissions, and less packaging materials needed.  You are conserving energy
  • More of a personal touch. You can drive to the farm or establishments you’re getting food from, if you really want to. You can reach out and communicate with the farmers and producers. Just as in you can get to know them, they can get to know you as the consumer also.
  • There’s no gimmicks or marketing tactics, like in large scale grocery chains. You can buy what you want, not what others want you to buy.
  • Acknowledging the assets your local community has and helping to keep it unique
  • You may save money!
  • The food is fresher and more nutritious (foods lose nutrients the more and longer they have to travel). It was probably picked or harvested in the past day or two.

Local Options in Your Area

I recently signed up for The Produce Box. If you’re not familiar, it’s a local food delivery system in North Carolina, focused exclusively on local produce and specialty products (meats, cheeses, breads) sourced from farmers near your area!

They work with over 40 farmers throughout the state. It is picked and delivered to your door within the week, so you don’t have to worry about going to the grocery store or farmer’s market every week to get the freshest, locally grown produce. The Produce Box handles that for you!

Produce Box

The online ordering system is very easy and convenient. You’ll get an email on Friday with the menu options available that week – boxes range between $20-$35 (depending on what and how much you choose), and there are additional item add-on’s like cheese, meats, jams, nuts, etc.

You just look through the options, pick the box or boxes that best suit you, and confirm. You have until Sunday to make your choices and then they will be delivered to you by Wednesday or Thursday of that week! Super fresh.

ordering directions

I went with the Garden Box, which comes with 1 English cucumber, strawberries, 1 bunch of Romaine Lettuce, Cherry Tomatoes, 1 Radish, and Sweet Potatoes. You have the option to customize your boxes and switch things out for a minimal up charge.

For example, I switched out my romaine lettuce for beets (because we all know I love my beets). I also added a strawberry goat cheese because it sounded unbelievably tasty (and it is now my favorite goat cheese EVER).

directions part 2

I got my email on Tuesday that my box would be arriving on Wednesday, with the name of the person who would be delivering it. Throughout the whole process, The Produce Box is very friendly and keeps things personal, which I appreciated.

They left instructions on what to do if I wouldn’t be home (leave a cooler out for anything that may need to keep cold).

Sure enough, everything arrived on time and Tammy (the delivery person) was so friendly and helpful!

Produce Box, local food
The Produce Box, local food

Everything in my box was super fresh. I love how they also include a pamphlet with the produce in your box, which tells you how to store the foods and how they can be used.

And as a bonus, they even include recipes for using your produce. They really seem to have thought of everything!

The Produce Box
The Produce Box

Someone also called me the following day to check and make sure everything was correct about my order. I felt like royalty throughout the whole process!

For my second order, I tried the Salad Box, which came with mustard greens, fresh blueberries, spinach, bibb lettuce, tomatoes, english cucumber, snowpeas, cremini mushrooms, and I added some Carolina whole milk yogurt.

Produce Box, local food

The mushrooms were so fresh. PS – mushrooms are great for vitamin D and selenium!

Produce Box, mushrooms

I used most of the ingredients to make my Mustard Greens Summer Salad and I used the Carolina whole milk yogurt for the honey yogurt vinaigrette dressing!

Produce Box, Summer Salad

Probably one of my favorite salads I’ve ever made because everything tasted so fresh!

Do you like to support local producers? Favorite things to buy at the farmers market?

I received store credit towards The Produce Box in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated monetarily. 

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  1. Wow, I had no idea that locally owned businesses recirculate a greater share of every dollar in the economy! My husband and I just moved to a new town that has a farmer’s market that we haven’t visited yet. I think that could be a great place to go and support!

  2. I am so with you on this! :] I’m hoping that I’ll get to settle down in a place that’s friendly to local food/sustainable living in the future, and I want to join a CSA! The Produce Box sounds all sorts of awesome–I wish they had something like that in New Jersey! (…I’ll have to check if they do. :O )

  3. My family has become focused on buying local food within the past few months. We’ve noticed that we’ve all felt a lot better since doing it. Not sure if it’s because of the local anti-oxidants in the food or what-have-you, but we’re definitely going to keep doing it!

  4. I dont purchase from food companies like this [only because I like to see my produce before picking it!] but I ADORE farmer’s markets and fruit stands! I live in farm country now, so there is literally a fruit stand on every corner. I love it!

  5. I love farmer’s markets! The produce definitely tastes fresher- probably because it still has more nutrients than the grocery store counterpart. I especially love fresh tomatoes in the summer!

  6. I try to buy local as much as possible – and we’re really lucky to have an awesome farmers market that’s on each Saturday and only 20 minutes or so from our house! (and it’s even better on the last Friday of every month as then it’s on just FIVE minutes from our house!)

    Plus, the closer to home it’s grown, the likely the fresher it is when you buy it – so it tastes better too!

  7. You could totally pay me in vegetables to write a blog post, haha!
    We have a nice farm market here in Rock Hill that opens seasonally. I don’t always go because I like getting all my shopping done in one place, but I usually make a handful of trips throughout the summer. I love that Aldi sells some local stuff now too.

  8. I would really love to buy more local, but Colorado is hard for buying totally local, because we don’t grow a lot of our produce. Any time we can buy local though is SO great! 🙂

  9. I love that you are such an advocate for this Sarah. We need more of people like you!
    Not that I needed convincing, but you definitely have me some reasons to add to my list for why to shop local. I absolutely adore going to the farmers market (I often go even if I don’t need anything). I love the fresh dirty produce, but also just love chatting with the farmers. Simple living is so wonderful.

  10. Yeeessss to all of this! I absolutely love buying local and the summer/fall farmer’s market is my favorite! My boyfriend and I live just a few blocks away from it and we love walking down and buying fresh vegetables. I love buying zucchini from the market, it’s always way cheaper and much bigger than the ones at the grocery store!

  11. I was part of a CSA 2 summers ago, similar concept, except you’re only buying from 1 farm, or a small collection of farms. I loved it! There was a handwritten thank you note in each box. I picked it up once a week from a nearby store & it had similar add on options as yours. The only downside, was even the small box was too much for me to each & I found some going to waste, or I gave a lot away.

    Last summer the BF & I grew quite the garden, talk about super local! And we had so much extra that we made & canned fresh salsa & pasta sauce. We’re doing the same again this year. So I don’t buy much from farmers markets, local honey sometimes, since I LOVE the stuff, but veggies are usually the localest possible, aka my backyard.

    1. I want to start a garden so badly. I think when we move this summer it will happen. I’m so impressed with the canned salsa and pasta sauce. I would have definitely taken any leftovers from you!

  12. I love buying things at the farmers market. If you go at the right times you can also get reduced prices for over ripe produce. Win!

  13. I love the idea of local food that is delivered! Everything you got looks so good! I will definitely be looking in to see what we have in our area. As I said in my post today we have tried Amazon fresh and having groceries delivered is just amazing!!