On Saturday, our neighborhood fresh produce market hosted their 3rd annual Farm Fest to give shoppers the opportunity to meet local farmers and producers. We love Farm Fest, not just because we get to chat with the men and women who grow the foods we love to eat, but because we can sample new products that more often than not end up on our regular shopping list.
Last year, we fell in love with an oven-ready vegetarian lasagna that’s made right here in our town. At $20 for an 8 x 8 pan, Il Pandolce isn’t something we can afford all the time but it has become one of our favorite date-night splurges. We also discovered Santo Niño de Atocha Tortilleria. Ms. Alice and her family make fresh corn tortillas and chips literally down the street from us. We can (and have) walked to her shop.
This year the big hit for us was Smirk Ice Cream. Their small batch ice creams are made with fruit sweetened almond milk – no artificial ingredients, no added sweeteners, and no dairy. It was like heaven on a spoon for me (I’m very sensitive to dairy products and usually have to enjoy ice cream in tiny, tiny servings). Smirk even offers free delivery right to your door in the greater Nashville area.
As we made our way around the tables at Farm Fest, I couldn’t help but notice something interesting…besides this grandfatherly gentleman posting pictures of his wife to Instagram.
People were really interested in where their food came from. They wanted to know where the farms were located, if they could visit, and if their methods were organic and/or humane. I suppose this is what one should expect in a local produce market but nevertheless, it was inspiring. If more folks thought this much about their food, just think of the impact we could make.
Top 5 Reasons to Buy Local
- It supports your local community. 68% of food dollars spent locally stay in the community, as opposed to only 43% of food dollars spent at a chain grocer.
- You will reduce your environmental impact. On average, food travels 1,500 miles to reach the grocery shelf. This means massive amounts of energy are used in the transportation, refrigeration, storage, and packaging of these foods. Buying local eliminates almost all of this resource waste.
- Local food tastes better and is more nutritious. Most grocery produce is picked early and ripens in transit. Local produce has time to ripen in the field, meaning it can be picked and sold at the peak of flavor and nutrition.
- You will buy less. Let’s face it, there are no shopping carts at the Farmer’s Market, no impulse buys, and no BOGO super deals. When you shop local, you generally buy only what you need.
- You’re helping end food waste. Almost 40% of food loss occurs before the product even reaches the consumer. A lot of this waste occurs due to spoilage when fruits and veggies spend too much time in storage or transport but 17% occurs directly on the farm, where “ugly” produce is discarded as unsalable. Odd or misshapen produce is pretty much the norm at the local level and no one cares. An ugly carrot tastes just like a pretty one.
During Farm Fest, we also signed up for our 2018 CSA share. Last year, we purchased shares from two local farms and we found ourselves overloaded with some things (like okra and peppers) and missing out on some others (like blueberries and melons). This year, we’re sticking with one CSA – Oak Grove Farms – and will purchase other “supplemental” items from the Farmer’s Market or the produce store. This will be our 3rd season with Oak Grove and we can’t wait for spring to roll around. They grow some of the most delicious strawberries we’ve ever eaten and their homemade salsa…oh my! Let’s just say, if it came in a keg, we’d buy one…or maybe two. As luck would have it though, Farmer Zach was giving away pint jars of his salsa that day.
Along with the salsa and maple syrup, we bought a dozen eggs, a bag of locally roasted coffee, 2 packs of dried apples, some Moosehead Kettle Corn, and 2 pints of local honey. We also went home with a half loaf of Amish sourdough bread and a half loaf of jalapeno sourdough bread from Laurel Mountain Farms. They had the cutest baby goat named Tommy at their table. After the second (or maybe fourth) time they let us play with him, I felt a bread purchase was the least we could do to repay them. And boy am I glad we did! That bread (and some homemade spinach dip) made for some super Super Bowl crostinis.
Food Waste Update
- Wasted Food this week: 0 ounces
- Total Wasted Food in 2018: 9 ounces
- Found Food this week: 20.17 US pounds
- Total Found Food this year: 83.34 US pounds
Keep up with our food finds in real time by viewing our Food Find Gallery.