Thursday, August 8, 2013

Farmer's Markets: An Exploration of being a Long Island Locavore

Why Eat local?

Many people have their reasons for it, many of their reasons differ. It doesn't really have a impact of the healthiness of the food and sometimes it isn't even cheaper. Than why eat local? This is something I needed to look into and explore myself. Would I like it? Can I save money? Is eating local for me? In this post I discover the local farmer's markets and discover my own motivation to eat local.

Since dedicating my life to the pursuit of happiness through healthy eating and living, I have had a lot of little foodie adventures. Eating locally to me is a new and exciting experience. Little did I know, or I am sure many of you as well, there is a wealth of locally grown produce that surrounds you. Sure it is not as convenient as the grocery store at times, but this is a way to know exactly where your produce comes from. Who are these mythical people that actually farm still? Go and shake their worn dirt roughened hands and maybe even learn a thing or two.

This curiosity sent me exploring the farmer's markets around me. It is a magical place full of wonder for someone that truly loves food and experiences associated with it. I met many wonderful long island farmers themselves, their families, friends and some new food/drink start up companies. To me this is an experience of how I imagine things used to be back in the day- a simpler time, when people sold what fruits and veggies they had to pay for their expenses. There are tons of vendors and other like-minded food lovers.

The first time I went to the farmer's market I had no list in mind of what to buy, I was purely there for the experience. I was a tourist, browsing and buying for the support and excitement of it all. I realized I was there for the gimmick of it in hindsight. But the next time I went, I had an exact meal in mind I was going to make and a list of vegetables I wanted. I realized this farmer's market can be my produce shopping for the week! That I can really use this as just normal produce, not as a souvenir to show proudly to my foodie friends. That is when it clicked for me, eating local is good for everyone!

Farmer's Market Recon: What I learned

As I said earlier on, it started as a curiosity. I wondered what was availible, how expensive is it, how long is there produce availble? This was more an experiment than anything else. I was pretty amazed at Port Jefferson's Farmer's Market, so much variety available! Since this is all new to me, I am looking at it the same way you would.

  • There is so much more variety of fruits and vegetables that grow locally than I ever realized!
  • You get to learn more about local farms. You can shake the hand of the man or woman that grew your food. Ask them why your tomatoes aren't growing well....
  • You can actually save money- I got a GIANT eggplant for $1- Hells yes!
  • This is another great way to support local businesses and the local economy. Keep the money to be invested and maybe create more jobs?!
  • It is a great opportunity to meet people that have a passion for food and that is ALWAYS fun!

GIANT eggplant for $1!! The size of a baby!

Why I want to keep it local as much as I can

Let's not kid ourselves- I am still gonna have to make my Stop and Shop runs for produce when I need it right away. But when I learned just how much is availible to me locally I realized most everything I need is availible locally and fairly priced if not cheaper than the store. More than the money and benefit to the local economy, there is an intangible quality to buying locally. The benefit lies in the heart: I was building relationships with these farmers and I felt this big island I live on seem suddenly smaller. I was connected and related to them. They are long islanders, we are all long islanders and in a perfect world shouldn't we all support each other? Shouldn't we lift one another up and give credit where it is due? I felt I was related to them: as I have my food blog and they have their farms and we can all cooperate with each other and support one another.

In this world of corporations and where warm bodies are reduced to cold numbers I got to shake a hand. I got a warm smile instead of buying my produce in a self check out line. This is an experience and one for the whole family. Something you can instill into our children.

Keep the Farms on Long Island!

YES indeed, there are STILL farms nestled on long island! They work hard just to keep existing. This whole island is NOT just a big suberb of New York City- we have our own culture and we still have farms! I support them so that the farms of long island that are becoming fewer and fewer will not be a myth by the time my kids have kids. Let's support what little open land we have doing what is meant for it, to grow crops.