Nutrition is the cornerstone of healthy living.
In fact, Hippocrates said, "Let food be thy medicine." Although food is no substitute for proven medical treatments, it can certainly be one component of the prescription - especially when it is fresh, local, nutritious and delicious.
There is never a shortage of diet fads, but one recent trend is more tradition than fad -- a return to our roots, if you will. It is called the "farm-to-table movement," and it is based on the idea that fresh, local seasonal food should come straight from the farm to your kitchen. Some people call it farm to fork or locally sourced food, but it doesn't matter what you call it, the underlying goal is the same: fresh, local food chocked full of nutrients.
Why does it matter if food is grown locally or trucked in from far away? Well, to keep food from spoiling during transport, produce is often picked before it has fully ripened - meaning it hasn't had a chance to fully absorb nutrients from the soil. When fruits and vegetables "ripen" in transit, they lack the nutrients they would have if they had ripened on the vine. And even when food is picked at full ripeness, it loses nutrients during transit! When we go to the grocery store, we have no idea how long ago that food was harvested or what types of chemicals were used in its growth.
What's more, fresh food simply tastes better.
Flavor really changes in veggies when they've been sitting on a truck for a few weeks. Choosing fresh, local food also forces you to eat seasonally. The bottom line: fresh food tastes better, has a higher nutrient content and stays fresh longer!
Finding Fresh Food:
There are a variety of ways to find delicious fresh food and you don't need to have a green thumb. Most communities have a farmers' market where growers gather at least once a week to sell fresh, seasonal produce.
In addition, you may consider joining a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm. Many local farms offer a CSA program, which means you can buy a "farm share" - a weekly box of produce that is available for delivery or pickup. This is a fun and economical way to incorporate more seasonal produce into your diet.
If you don't have access to a farmers' market or CSA, a little strategy at the grocery store can help. Look for produce from local growers and choose foods that are in season. The extra effort will be well worth it, in taste and nutrition.
Note: LocalHarvets.org is an online informational resource and search engine designed to help customers locate organic and local food. Visitor's to the site can enter a ZIP code to find farmers' markets, CSA's and other resources in their area.