We have been hearing so much lately about going local, whether it is a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm or a farmer’s market. I thought it would be beneficial to write about the different reasons to give local a chance.

If you cannot commit to a CSA, farmer’s markets, farm stands and even conventional grocery stores offer fresh, local fruits and vegetables.

One of the best benefits to eating local, besides helping the environment, is flavor and selection. Local fruits and vegetables are almost always picked the day you purchase them (which is their peak for tastiness). Local farms also provide produce you cannot find in the supermarket (such as delicate greens or kohlrabi).

Another wonderful idea is to take kids on a trip to a local farm. It gives them the chance to see the connection between food and the land it is grown on, which you cannot do at a grocery store. A lot of farmer’s markets offer fun activities to attract kids such as face painting, or pumpkin decorating.

Some tips to help you navigate farmer’s market/local shopping:

If you don’t recognize a vegetable don’t be afraid to ask about it.
Walk through the entire farmer’s market to see everything that is offered.
Aim to make one meal per week from farmer’s market foods.
Purchase a new vegetable each time you visit a farmer’s market.
Even though some farmer’s markets are smaller than others they still can offer a variety of wonderful fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, jams and even breads.
Ask the farmers what they recommend. Maybe even some recipe ideas for the new foods you are trying.
While selection may be more sparse later in the day, prices will most likely be lower.
While buying food locally does not guarantee safety at least you know who is growing your food!

Author's Bio: 

Rachel Lerner is a certified nutritional consultant, fitness nutrition coach and founder of Personal Web Nutrition. She has run several successful weight loss contests and recently published an e-book weight loss program. Rachel has advised adults and children on managing weight, pain, food sensitivities or allergies, cholesterol, sugar and sodium through individualized food plans and programs. She has led seminars for several corporations (including Starwood Hotels) and written articles for many publications and ehow.com on various topics, including special dietary needs, the secrets to healthy eating, how food affects our mood and improving overall health. Most recently Rachel launched her own radio show on blogtalkradio.com called Healthy Bits and Bites. She also has been a guest blogger for celiacchicks.com and Healthy Style NY. Rachel’s custom services provide an opportunity to make positive changes in your eating habits without compromising taste.