The local produce harvest is finally in an upswing with new deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables coming in from both of our local farms -- Heritage Prairie Farm in Elburn and Bountiful Blessings Farm in Hinckley -- every day. We have always been strong supporters of buying locally produced and grown foods, but in the past it simply wasn’t feasible to rely on local farms to supply us. That changed this year and we are extremely pleased to be able to offer you a wide selection of locally grown produce items.
So far shoppers have been very enthusiastic and are buying up the local produce as fast as we receive it. For those of you who haven’t given it a try, perhaps these few points will help make believers out of you as well...
Good reasons to buy local produce when it’s available:
- Local food is fresh - Local produce is fresher and tastes better because it is often sold within 24 hours of being picked. When we receive a delivery from one of our local farms, we know that the product was still growing in the field earlier that same day.
- Local food is riper – Produce that needs to be shipped cross-country or even farther needs to be picked long before it is ripe in order to make certain that the items are able to stand up to the packing, shipping, and travel from the fields to warehouses and eventually to our store. Local produce gets to spend more time in the ground or on the vine to ripen because it’s grown less than a 1/2 hour from our store. This gives you a tastier, vine-ripened product.
- Eating local is “green” - Eating local reduces your carbon footprint. When your food doesn’t travel long distances, you’re promoting better air quality and reducing pollution.
- Local food is seasonal - Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons. Most locally grown items are not available all year round. When you buy local you are getting the best nature has to offer at its peak of freshness. And when it’s most affordable.
- Local food is more pure - When you buy food that travels less distances, it is less likely to be contaminated or tampered with. Our local farmers all use organic growing methods. Heritage Prairie Farm is a Certified Organic Farm and Bountiful Blessing Farm, while not certified organic, does incorporate sustainable practices and integrated pest management. When weed or pest control is necessary they start with organic compounds and don’t use anything stronger than a one-day pre-harvest interval.
- Buying local is more fulfilling - Knowing that your food has a story and that it came from one of your neighbors makes eating it that much more enjoyable.
- Local foods offer unique variety – Both of our local farms are quite diversified. They offer a number of delicious items not available from our standard channels of supply. Also, the land is healthier and farming practices more sustainable when the farms raise a wider variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Local foods support responsible land development - When we buy local foods, we support local farmers. This gives those with farms and pastures a reason to stay undeveloped.
- Local food enhances our environment - In addition to the reduced carbon footprint we experience with food grown less than twenty miles from tour store, there are lots of other reasons that our environment benefits when we support local farming. The more land that is cultivated organically decreases the overall usage of chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers, and increases biodiversity in our local ecosystem.
- Local food is good for our economy - Eating local means more money stays within your community. Every dollar spent generates twice as much income for the local economy.
- Buying local enriches our social community - When we buy local foods, we create a more intimate relationship with the people who grow our food because they’re our neighbors.