You've heard about the local movement and you're curious.
It sounds like a secret club of foodies and you want in.
Because they're always posting these amazing boxes full of colorful fruits and veggies you never seem to find in the grocery store.
Don't fret, this secret club meets regularly..at a farmers market near you.
No, it's not a flea market. It's a farmers market where farmers, producers, and local artisans gather regularly to sell the freshest, most amazing foods.
You know, like that amazing peach pie with the ripe peaches picked just an hour away, made using someone's grandmother's grandmother's secret recipe?
But here's the real secret, that delicious local food isn't just yummy to eat, it's better for you and you're directly helping your local ecosystem.
First let's see what local really means.
What is considered "local" produce?
"Local" is used a lot when describing produce that is fresh and of high quality.
Its exact definitions vary, but locally grown (or made) generally implies a local geographic region. This can be anywhere from 150 miles away, all the way to 400 miles (as defined by Congress.)
But what does it really mean? You buy local at your favorite farmers market and you love supporting all things made locally.
You love the idea that someone nearby grew or made the thing you enjoy so much.
You never really gave it a thought what that means or why it matters to you.
Why local matters
Let's stay on produce for this quick case study.
We're all used to shopping at grocery stores because they're packed with just about everything we need in one place.
But that convenience comes at a cost.
You see, those plums you love so much aren't actually grown in the US all year round. In fact, if you look closely in the winter, those plums are probably from South America.
So the dollars you spend enjoying plums all year round, get sent out to growers in another country.
Ok no big deal right? We're a diverse global supply chain right?
Buying local matters more than just the dollars.
Those plums are grown to an agricultural standard. Most of the time, that's no problem. But with lapses in oversight, food safety can be a concern.
Case in point: In 2015 the US had to ban all cilantro originating from Mexico. Why? Because hundreds of people got sick. How? The FDA inspected 11 farms that exported to the US and found that 8 of them lacked toiletries, soap, and even facilities.
So if you're a field worker, without the proper sanitation facilities, what do you think happens?
Ok scary stories aside, let's see why local is that much better for you.
1. Local foods create community. If you ever stop by a farmers market, you'll feel the warmth in the air from folks talking to their favorite farmer, pie guy, cheese gal, butcher, and so on. It feels good to know who and where your food comes from.
2. Local foods are fresher. In fact, if you buy from a farmers market, you can get produce that's been picked within 24 hours. When you buy direct from the farmer, you can ask him/her when things were picked. Try doing that at a grocery store.
3. Local foods are considerably safer. With terms like "farm to table," that means you are dealing straight from the source. There's no chain of custody, so that leaves less chance for a middleman to contaminate something along the way.
4. Local foods are better for the environment. From a transportation point of view, you are saving thousands of miles in carbon footprint. That's less gas, less refrigeration, and less food waste.
5. Local foods are better for the land. While many local farmers aren't certified organic, farming is what they love. You'll soon find that the vast majority of them use chemicals very minimally if at all. It only makes sense because they live where they work. Why poison your own food and water supply?
6. Local foods support your local economy. By keeping your dollars in your local region, you're building up your local economy. There aren't large corporations extracting profits or middlemen taking cuts; the money you spend with a local producer will end up in his/her pocket.
7. Local foods means less waste. Many offer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), meaning they grow what there's demand for. We've also seen first-hand how generous farmers are with donating to local food banks through gleaning programs.
8. Local foods attract tourists. We're at a few markets that see a sizable amount of out-of-towners looking for the best local stuff to try. More money being spent locally helps raise the standard of living for the whole community.
9. Farmers Markets make great use of open spaces. With open spaces becoming a rarity in urban areas, supporting your local farmers market will ensure that beautiful open space will remain undeveloped.
10. Farmers Markets are a great place to teach kids about agriculture. Not only is it fun to try samples and meet the farmers, the kids get to see where vegetables, eggs, milk, and produce come from.
Senzu is a leader in local produce sourcing
Here at Senzu Juicery, we're a product of the local farming community. We take all that wonderfully grown produce and turn them into delicious juices to help you get healthier.
We've done a number of experiments with farmers and produce suppliers, because our goal is to make the best juice.
The best juice starts with the best ingredients, and local produce makes an enormous difference in the taste, shelf life, and quality of our juice.
We explored regions like WV, MD, NJ, PA, and VA to source produce to see if location made a difference.
The number one difference maker was freshness. That is - time from farm to bottle.
Luckily, selling at farmers markets allowed us an "in" to build a network of local farms we can trust.
Here are some of the farms we work with.
Richardson Farms - Whitemarsh, MD
Richardson Farms is a fifth-generation family farm located in White Marsh, Maryland. Richardson Farms has a personal commitment to providing your family with the best tasting, freshest locally grown produce and products available. Richardson Farms also operates the largest farm stand in the Northeast Market in Baltimore — a market they've operated since 1930.
Glaize Apples - Winchester, VA
Glaize Apples grows in orchards down the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Since 1937, four generations of Glaizes have added to the history of premium fruit harvests between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. Glaize Apples of Winchester is optimally located to distribute fresh fruit on routes local, regional, and beyond.
How we juice with Glaize Apples
Apples: Energy, Detox, Longevity, Activated Greens
Visit them here:
Barajas Produce - Montross, VA
Barajas Produce has been a proud family owned business since the start!!! Barajas Produce has been growing and expanding thanks to its wonderful costumers.
Visit them here:
How we juice with Barajas Produce
Kale: Longevity, Activated Greens
Mint: Relax and Refresh
Napa Cabbage: Vitality
Bok Choy: Longevity
Toigo Orchards - Shippensberg, PA
Toigo Orchards has over 21,000 trees in its orchards devoted to fresh market production, primarily fresh market apples. At Toigo Orchards, they take pride in growing beautiful fruit using the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system. This allows Toigo to maintain the health of the crop without leaving a chemical residue on the surface of the fruit.
Ashton Farms - Martinsburg, WV
Ashton Farms sits on 25 acres around the areas of Martinsburg and Hedgesville, West Virginia, and grows nearly 15 varieties of yellow and white peaches, as well as apples, pears, berries, plums, cantaloupe and corn. Ashton Farms is local and family-run, with loyal customers still shopping with them since the farm started in 1978.
Support Local, Support Your Health
With juices made mostly from local produce, you can taste the difference between our juice and something you'd buy in the grocery store.
If you're spending the energy to consciously eat better, you know that fresher produce makes for more nutritious juice.
Quit drinking the sugar laden grocery store junk.
Feed your body the freshest nutrients and feel amazing doing it.
Our Juice Box program makes it easy to get started.