As a business owner, at Indigo Lounge Eatery, we buy as much as possible locally and fresh from our community farmers. We do this for many reasons including the positive effects on our environment, the support for local farmers and for the freshness and health benefits of eating food grown in our community.
Eating food locally grown or farmed helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to improving our carbon footprint. It benefits the local economy, including supporting local farmers and other producers. It encourages sustainable agriculture, and facilitates tracking the supply chain back to the point of origin. I always say the less hands between the product and the table, the better.
It may have a higher nutrient value, as food that is grown and harvested locally is usually given more time to ripen. This does not, however, automatically mean that local food is necessarily more nutritious, as other factors come into play.
There are several factors that influence the nutritive value of produce including crop variety, how it’s grown, ripeness at harvest, storage, processing and packaging. Its vitamin and mineral content depend on the practices of people all along the line, from the seed to the table, whether or not produce is local or transported from a distance. I prefer organic for this reason.
Produce such as broccoli, green beans, kale, red peppers, tomatoes, apricots and peaches are susceptible to nutrient loss when harvested and transported from longer distances, while those that are heartier such as apples, oranges, grapefruit and carrots keep their nutrients while travelling long distances.
On a recently viewed episode of Down to Earth, a Netflix show, I found it interesting as they talked about the benefits of cooking with latitude, meaning cooking and pairing foods found on the same latitude.
This past week my partner and I had the opportunity of the most amazing and real farm to table experience. Thrive Norfolk, a farm nearby in Norfolk County offers seating in an outdoor dining room in the centre of their lush and plentiful produce gardens and surrounded by sunflowers. We ate a six-course meal all made by Chef Dan celebrating the ability to thrive off their land while collaborating within our bountiful community allowing for endless culinary creations. These creative and stunningly delicious meals showcased what local farming has to offer using the ingredients that are their prime and ready for harvest. BBQ watermelon salad, Ratatouille, local creek trout on fresh local corn, fresh sunflower petals on homemade pasta, smoked turkey with long beans… my mouth is watering just reminiscing about the experience.
So, grow your own garden, buy from your local farmers, eat what is in season, follow the inspiration from others and as Chef Dan would say, thrive.