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Let's Eat Local!

Posted by Rachel Pope, RDN on

This is a great time of the year to enjoy foods grown and produced locally! Farmer’s markets and farm stands are in full swing until October and some even until December or longer! Seasonal vegetables and fruits as well as locally raised animal products and locally caught seafood are all delicious and nutritious! Let’s go through some of the benefits of eating what is grown near you: 

  1. It’s fresher! Produce at local farm stands or markets are usually picked that same day or the day before. These same foods at grocery stores would have been picked several days or weeks before getting to your plate. Fresher means they will taste better and that they will also have a higher nutrient content. 
  2. Eating local means you are eating seasonally. Eating those vegetables or fruits that are available at a specific time of year supplies a variety of nutrients. 
  3. It is good for the environment! Eliminating packaging and minimizing transportation needs greatly!
  4. The money you spend goes directly to the farmer instead of large corporations, which keeps your money local as well as supports farmers financially.
  5. Local, smaller farms usually use more sustainable agriculture practices that support soil and nutrient quality. This can mean significantly less or none of the synthetic pesticides and fertilizers! 
  6. You can get to know your farmer and learn about what they grow and their farming practices. If you have kids, this can be a great way to get them involved with how food is grown and what is available to us right here in CT! Picky eaters are considerably more likely to try a new food if they saw how it was grown or helped to pick it. 
  7. Locally produced meat is usually raised on a pasture (as it should be!) and allowed to eat what it normally would in nature! These two facts help produce a healthier meat that will nourish your body with proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Sacred Cow by Diana Rodgers, RD and Robb Wolf is a great read on sustainably produced meat! 

Where Do I Start?

  • There are over 100 farmer’s markets in CT! Check out the list here for one near you: https://portal.ct.gov/DOAG/ADaRC/Publications/Farmers-Markets
  • Now that we have seen many of the great reasons to eat locally, I challenge you to eat as locally as possible this week! See if you can get it to 75% of your daily diet! Getting family or friends involved can make it more enjoyable and not like a “chore” as food shopping can be seen. 

Here is a look at what local foods RD Rachel ate this week: 

  • Whole chicken raised on a farm in Bethlehem (cooked in the instant pot) She got 2 dinners for 2 and bacon chicken salad for a few lunches out the one bird! 
  • Lots of zucchini. Sautéed earlier in the week and heated up as leftovers as well 
  • Pasture raised ground beef patties for burgers a couple nights
  • Locally grown watermelon, cantaloupe, and blueberries into a fresh fruit salad.
  • Roasted carrots in olive oil and seasonings 
  • Hot cherry peppers to be marinated. These are a great snack or will go great chopped and put on top of a burger or piece of grilled chicken.

If you have questions about how to eat more locally grown foods, just ask your RD at your next appointment!