Demand for locally grown food soared during the pandemic, and this trend appears to be holding true for consumers. Concerns about sustainability and a demand for more familiar ingredients have put locally grown products in the spotlight throughout the world. In a recent global study done by Global Data’s COVID-19 Recovery Consumer Survey, held in July 2021, 52% of consumers claimed that locally sourced ingredients was their top priority. This view was expressed by 40% of respondents in each age category. Consumer demand for locally sourced ingredients does not appear to be a short-term trend.
Here are a few reasons to buy locally grown produce:
- Locally grown food is full of flavor. When grown locally, the crops are picked at their peak of ripeness and distributed to your local retail outlet. Produce at local markets has usually been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.
- Local food has more nutrients. Local food has a shorter travel time between harvest and your table, and it is less likely that the nutrient value has decreased.
- Eating local food is eating seasonally. Even though we wish strawberries were grown year-round, the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased directly from a local grower. They are full of flavor and taste better because they haven’t traveled thousands of miles to get to you.
- Local food supports the local economy. The money that is spent with local farmers and growers stays close to home and is reinvested with businesses and services in your community.
- Local food benefits the environment. By purchasing locally grown foods, you help maintain farmland and green and/or open space in your community. Local purchases also reduce the carbon footprint associated with transporting crops long distances to distribution centers and retail stores.
- Local foods promote a safer food supply. The more steps there are between you and your food source, the more chances there are for contamination. Food grown in distant locations has the potential for food safety opportunities at harvesting, washing, shipping and distribution.
- Local growers can tell you how the food was grown. You can ask what practices they use to raise and harvest the crops. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about the food you consume.
The following link will help you by providing a calendar of what crops are in season in Florida and what months you can expect to see them available: https://www.fdacs.gov/content/download/16790/file/FNW_SeasonalCalendar_Subgroups_11x17.pdf.