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The Benefits of Buying Local Produce

Updated on July 27, 2014

Why Buy Locally?

The convenience of mass-produced fruits and vegetables in large grocery stores has made many people forget all the small local farmers in the area that may have produce that is lower in pesticides (and even organic!), more ripe, and tastier than what you may find at a grocery store.

Local produce is picked closer to the peak of ripeness.
Local produce is picked closer to the peak of ripeness. | Source

Benefit #1: Freshness and Better Taste

Most produce from large supermarkets has been shipped from across the country - or even a different country. That means the fruits and vegetables are not picked at their peak ripeness. Unripe fruits are exposed to ethylene gas during shipment to speed up the ripening process and make them look pleasing when they arrive at the grocery store. This means that the red tomatoes you find in the store did not actually turn red on the vine, and they did not develop the flavor they would have if they had been allowed to do so. Try comparing fruit from a large supermarket and fruit from a local farmers market. Farmers market fruit is always the sweetest!

A treat with local berries
A treat with local berries

Benefit #2: Better Nutritional Value

During the time that produce grows, it absorbs minerals from the earth and develops vitamins and enzymes within itself. When the food is picked before it is ripe, it cuts off the time it has to truly absorb and form all these nutrients. After fruits and veggies are picked, their nutritional value slowly decreases the longer it has been off the vine, bush, or tree. Buying local food can ensure you are getting things that were more recently picked, and you will have food with higher nutritional value.

Benefit #3: Energy Savings

Another benefit to buying local produce is energy savings. Buying local food can actually save fossil fuel because the food is not coming from hundreds of miles away. Author and activist Michael Pollan puts the impact of the food we eat into perspective:

Michael Pollan on Local Produce

A Local Food Movement

Benefit #4: Supporting Your Local Economy

Over the years, small farmers have become less and less common. Farmers are losing business to large companies that can conveniently produce mass quantities of food. You can buy higher quality and more nutritious items from a local farmers market. Buying locally means you will have fruits and vegetables picked at their peak of ripeness. This means better nutritional value and better taste. At a local market you can speak directly with the farmer to ask if things are organic, or ask about things they carry during different seasons. Find some farmers markets in your area and see what they have to offer!

Salad with local tomatoes and avocados
Salad with local tomatoes and avocados

Tips For Buying Local Produce

To find places to buy local produce, begin by doing a quick search for farmer's markets in your area. Get to know the people there, because often they know lots of other farmers and can give you more information on specific produce you are interested in.

Try to find some farms where you can pick your own produce. This is very fun and fulfilling, and you will know exactly where your food is coming from. It also often lowers the cost of the produce since you are doing the picking yourself. You can find food that is ripe, delicious, fun to pick, and cheaper than what you will find at a grocery store!

How often do you buy local produce?

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    • AnniesHealthTalk profile image

      AnniesHealthTalk 5 years ago from United States

      @thoughtsonaporch - I completely agree! There's nothing better than tomatoes and other produce straight from your own backyard!

    • thoughtsonaporch profile image

      thoughtsonaporch 5 years ago

      If more of us insist on fresh local produce, you will be surprised how we can change a lot of things.

      Also start to grow some of your own food, no matter how little, it will help in so many ways. Improved health is only the beginning.

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      There's a strawberry farm about 7 miles from where I live. The kids love to go strawberry picking. We also live just a couple of miles from the largest producer of the very popular Georgia Peaches.

      It's a Georgia thing. People around here love to grow their own. I used to, and I hope to do it again. Nothing beats eating fresh, locally grown produce.

      Great hub. Voted Up and Useful.

    • Daddy Paul profile image

      Daddy Paul 5 years ago from Michigan

      There is noting like going to an orchard and picking your own. The fruit is fresh and so is the air. It can be a great family activity.

    • AnniesHealthTalk profile image

      AnniesHealthTalk 5 years ago from United States

      @Victoria Lynn - Thanks so much! That made my day. I'm really excited about this website because there's so much information on here and people seem to interact with each other a lot. And yes, you can call me Annie!

    • iefox5 profile image

      iefox5 5 years ago

      The benefits of buying local produce are stated in the article. I couldn't agree more.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      This is an important subject I'm interested in. In fact I wrote my own hub about it. Welcome to HubPages, I look forward to your future hubs. Voted up.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      HI, Annie! (may I call you that?) I saw your comment on my hub about not doing too well so far. I think you're doing great. You just started, after all! Your writing is solid and interesting. Keep writing. I'm sharing this hub with others!

    • gmarquardt profile image

      gmarquardt 5 years ago from Hill Country, Texas

      Purchasing local foods also keeps costs down by limiting transportation costs. This, in turn, helps the environment as well.