Easy Ways to Eat More Local Foods
There are countless reasons why you should eat more local foods including supporting the local economy, freshness, knowing where your food came from, and many other reasons. While there is no “legal” or universally accepted definition of local it is most generally defined by miles a product has to travel from its origin. It is up to an individual to decide what they consider “local”. According to Idaho Preferred the definition of local is food and agriculture products grown or processed in Idaho. With the growing demand for local products it has become easier than ever to eat locally. Here are some easy tips on incorporating more local foods into your diet.
Eat Seasonally: Idaho’s agriculture is plentiful and diverse. There are still plenty of local products available even in the winter months. Right now you can still find local apples, meats, potatoes, dairy products, squashes, grains, beans, lentils, and onions from local producers. In 2013, Idaho Preferred published a cookbook entitled: LIVE.EAT.LOCAL- Idaho Recipes for all Seasons. This book is designed by season to highlight Idaho products when they are available, and includes over 100 recipes provided by local chefs as well as producer spotlights. This cookbook makes it easy to find new recipes for each season!
Support Restaurants That Source Local: Restaurants are providing more local foods on their menus because consumers are demanding it. A lot of local restaurants are using seasonal menus and supporting local producers. Restaurants are also including local wines, beers, and spirits on their menus. For a list of restaurants that support local producers click here.
Shop at Retailers That Stock Local on Their Shelves: Local food is increasingly more available on retailers’ shelves. This is because consumers are demanding it. If you know local apples are in season but you don’t see them at your grocery store make sure to ask! One of the goals of the Idaho Preferred program is to make it easier to find Idaho grown products, so make sure that you look for the Idaho Preferred logo at your favorite retailer.
Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture): This is a great way to receive local foods on a weekly basis. There are several CSAs in Idaho. With a CSA, you buy a share in a farm and in return you get a delivery of locally grown products that are in season. There are a variety of different CSAs including veggies only, fruit and vegetables, and year around that include grains and meats. Be sure and do your homework though before joining a CSA. There are several companies that offer home delivery service – but often the food is not grown locally.
Shop at the Farmers Market: Supporting farmers markets that sell locally grown products is a great way to meet the producers and find a lot of variety in one place. Idaho has over 50 farmers markets across the state. For a list of all the farmers markets visit here.