Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Eat your (local) veggies!

Today is the first day of summer. Happy Solstice!

For me, summer conjures up memories of lazy days at the beach, lots of outings to the park fountains, and especially wonderful summer food.

This is the season where everything is growing. Especially in New England, where we grow little food in the winter, I love to take advantage of the local food market to get the freshest fruits and vegetables that I will have all year. I do this at the farmer's markets!

Farmer's markets are great for a number of reasons: you get to meet the people who are growing your food and who love to do it. You can try a whole bunch of vegetables that never reach the conventional market. Did you know that brussel sprouts actually grow on a stalk? I didn't, until I bought one last summer!

Also, supporting local farmer's markets is good for the environment, too. Locally grown foods mean that less fossil fuels were used in transportation and packaging. While not all locally grown foods may be organic, many small farmers work hard to use little pesticides (it saves them money and keeps the farmers healthy), and many also use Integrated Pest Management as an optional environmentally-friendly growing practice.

Many small farmers are now being financially supported solely through farmer's markets and Community Supported Agriculture programs, because the huge agricultural industry has pushed them out of conventional super markets.

So find a local farmer's market today! There are over 100 in Massachusetts alone!

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