Have you ever stopped at one of those roadside vegetable stands? One of my favorite childhood memories is when we would stop at a stand on the way back from the beach in North Carolina to pick up fresh shrimp and veggies for dinner. It was the perfect meal to end a great day by the ocean. Now I live in almost-rural Virginia, where roadside stands are everywhere, and the produce is always so fresh and delicious.
I look forward to Saturday mornings when I go to the farmer’s market to buy fresh produce, and especially the fresh bread from the local bakery. They have this chocolate chip ciabatta loaf that is so good that I’m lucky if any of it makes it home! They also have meat vendors and dairy farmers with stands who have quality products that I’ve used many times which enhance the flavor of whatever meal I’m making. I often take my kids so they learn about all the different vegetables that are locally grown. They even had baby goats once that the kids went crazy over. So cute!
There are several farms still working that sell everything from honey to mozzarella cheese to chicken legs. Several farms have CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) where they deliver a basket of fresh produce, meat or eggs/dairy weekly to your door. Living in the foothills there are also several wineries not far from our house that we’ve enjoyed with friends and family.
Visiting a local farm is also a great way to spend the day with the kids, family or friends. Some farms charge for you to pick produce, or you can become a member, and others simply charge you for what you buy and nothing else.
My personal local recommendations for the Northern Virginia area are:
Great Country Farms
Fields of Athenry
Farmer John’s Wayside Stand on route 15
And there are still several I have to try!
Buying locally produced products is good for the environment. Why?
1. You are supporting your local economy, which helps your community thrive.
2. You are supporting local farmers, who need all the support they can get as so many can’t afford to keep running and shut down after several generations in business.
3. You are reducing oil usage by reducing the distance these products have to be shipped. (This is one of many ways to curb your addiction to oil in the wake of the Gulf oil disaster.)
4. Many local farms are also organic yet aren’t as expensive as the grocery store since you’re cutting out the middle-man and buying directly from them.
I live in a great location of the country with lots of options. However, I’ve lived in New Jersey, Utah, California and North Carolina and every single place had farmers markets that were so much fun to shop at. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning and get to know people from your community as well.
Here are a few websites to find a local farmer’s market, farm or CSA near you:
Or just google “farmer’s market” with your zip code and tons of options will pop up.
So check out your local farmer’s market or farm, and don’t forget your reusable bags!
Good for your health, the economy, and the environment! J