During my month-long challenge to eat local foods, I definitely learned a lot.
1. The food tastes better – nothing truly compares to eating foods fresh from the garden/orchard.
2. I needed to really think ahead so that I wasn’t running all over tarnation. (read my post at Simple Homemade for some tips on buying local without driving all over)
3. It’s about a million times harder to meal plan – not knowing exactly what I was going to be able to find at the farmers markets was tough. I had to start thinking as I shopped, sometimes walking through the rows and then sitting with my pen and paper before I made my purchases.
4. I really had to keep my budget in mind – it was so easy to begin buying specialty items at the farmers market and then I’d find out I should have bought more produce instead.
5. Eating seasonally just feels….right. Even over the course of just 30 days, the produce that shows up at the market (and in my garden) has changed. Because of this, the nutrients we’re consuming are changing as well. Giving us what our body needs at this specific time.
I spent the month of August going to farmers markets for produce and meat, calling local farmers so that I could buy meat from them, and trying to find sources for pantry staples.
The really hard part was the pantry staples, so I mostly decided to buy as little as possible and only from family run/locally run small stores.
Late last week I finally stepped foot into a local supermarket as well as Costco. And can I admit something?
It is soooo much easier! I didn’t have to think about the many places I needed to go and I could get everything on my list in one fell swoop.
But I also realized that there was less there that I wanted to buy. I picked up the lettuce, grabbed some fruit, and pull chips off the shelves, and all I could think was “I could find better stuff (and pay less) at the farmers market”. I did end up buying a few things (because our farmers stands now don’t have near as much produce at them), and it’s hard not to notice the lack of flavor.
I’m really glad I took this challenge for our family – how did you do?
For us, moving forward, we still plan on buying as much local food as possible, especially dairy, meat, and produce (for as long as we can buy fresh produce here in MI).