Whether you’re a consistent and organized meal prepper (what’s that like?) or you’re more of a fly by the seat of your pants, whatever’s in your fridge kind of person (guilty), fresh and local is the way to go. You may ask yourself “why head to the farm on a Wednesday night or a Saturday morning for food when there is a Publix down the street?” Well besides seeing our bright and shiny faces there a million reasons why fresh, local produce will always be a better option over any big box store.
But I’ll list just a few here:
- Fresher: Our produce at Woodside is always picked at peak freshness and brought in, only when we need it. There’s no long delay or extended travel time. We’re not shipping our spinach or strawberries in from California in a big truck. We’re definitely not harvesting produce while under-ripe, only to artificially ripen it with a chemical called 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (which is used on most produce items to speed up their ripeness). Produce doesn’t have to be Frankenstein science. In fact, you may even take a little dirt home with you if you pick your groceries up here! We’re just that fresh.
- Higher Nutrient Content: Speaking of freshness, because we allow our produce to ripen naturally while still in the ground and don’t have a long-haul transportation route to take, its nutrient content will always be higher than anything you find at a big box store. Buying local not only allows you to enjoy peak tastiness but also allows food to be your medicine. You’ll always reap more medicinal benefits when your food is local and naturally grown.
- Tastier: When food is grown naturally and locally and has a shorter commute to your table, it’s going to be tastier. Not only because of its shortened delay in getting to you but also because it’s grown with care. Small farms allow farmers to walk the fields and assess their plants’ needs. They can see when the soil needs tending to and plant according to different plant requirements. Buying local is also a great way to ensure that you’re buying seasonally. What’s the deal with buying seasonally? It means fewer artificial inputs were used to grow your produce and typically this all boils down to flavor (along with being kinder to our environment and farm workers). You just can compete with local produce.
- Better Value: Have y’all seen these gas prices?! Along with everything, the cost of food is going up, mostly due to the rise in gas prices as well as all the petroleum-based fertilizers that large, conventional farms use. Actually, according to government figures, the cost of big box store produce items has gone up 2% since February. Additionally, manufacturer coupons are becoming rarer in an effort to balance out shortages that we’re still seeing from last March’s stock-up period. Not to get too into the economics of it all (mostly because I haven’t taken an economics class in over 10 years and who needs that kind of stress in their lives), large box stores in America import between 30% and 50% of its produce from other countries, according to the FDA. With the level of availability and cost of transportation fluctuating, a lot of that cost gets passed down to the consumer. However, local produce is slow to increase in price, especially if you purchase a CSA share and lock a price in at the beginning of the season. When comparing prices of equal quality food items, local farms and markets just make more financial sense.
Can’t make it to one of Woodside’s farm stands (Wednesdays 4 pm – 7 pm and Saturdays 9 am-noon)? That’s okay! We deliver produce weekly to local stores. Stop by Ellwood Thompson’s, Good Foods Grocery, and Little House Green Grocery to pick up your favorite Woodside Farms produce as well as support other local farms and businesses!