This is the first article in a new series titled: Stop Shopping at the Grocery Store
The idea for the series — Stop Shopping at the Grocery Store — came to me when I realized just how little shopping we do at an actual grocery store. We go there for the very basic items such as milk, some meats, paper products and cleaning products. Even then, we very rarely buy the name brands. In fact, most of my cleaning products and personal care products are not name brands.
Where you shop fits in with my mission of helping people with Healthy Cooking & Eating, which includes these 3 steps:
- Buying healthy
- Cooking healthy
- Eating healthy
- Farmers Market – Be sure to ask about their ‘rules’ as some markets have none which means you won’t know for sure that the produce is coming from local farms
- CSA – Community Supported Agriculture – a way to support local farmers and get fresh local produce
- Co-op – The Farm Connection in San Antonio is one example.
- Local Farmers
For many years, we shopped the Pearl Farmers Market here in San Antonio. Until the start of the pandemic, when, like the rest of the world, it shut down. We had been buying the bulk of our produce from Braune Farms and soon learned that they had a farm stand every Wednesday. For about 10 months, we made the drive to the farm every Wednesday afternoon. It was about 80 miles round trip, but it was one of the few times we actually got out of the house back then. Now we order from the farm and pick it up locally every Tuesday.
Why Buy Fresh Local Produce
- It’s Fresher — Most of what you buy locally was in the ground just a few days before. Sometimes, it was even harvested the day before we get it! Especially if you buy directly from a farmer or market. Produce from co-ops may be stored a few days.
- No Chemical Treatments — No waxing, no chemicals to keep them fresher. And in many cases, it has not been treated with pesticides. If you get to know your farmer, you’ll feel more confident about what you’re getting.
- Tastier — The fresher the produce, the tastier. Though I believe it’s more than that. It’s how it’s grown, too.
- Healthier — As soon as produce is harvested, it begins to lose nutritional value. So the sooner after harvest you get it, the healthier it is.
- Not Processed – Fresh produce is not processed. Perhaps you could consider there is some processing that happens during harvesting, but it’s minimal; especially compared to canned or frozen produce.
What about Organic Fresh Local Produce?
When we shopped the Pearl, we found a few vendors that were certified organic. Not all of them were certified, though. It turns out it is a complex and expensive process to become certified organic. This is where knowing your farmer can be important. We learned that many farmers follow organic procedures, but are not certified organic.
And that’s okay with me. I’m more concerned with how they grow their crops than the labels that they may have.
I introduced this series live on Instagram on Tuesday, 05.25.2021. Here’s the video: