I talk frequently about local producers, farmers markets, gardening and other sources of local foods, wine and beer. These are the products that most people start with when they begin to focus on eating locally.
Those aren’t the only items that can be bought locally, though. If you’re stuck in a locavore rut, buying the same types of products over and over, try expanding your purchases to include some of these locally produced items.
- Flowers. Food isn’t the only thing that can travel hundreds of miles to get to your dining room table. The flower arrangement in the middle of your table might have racked up some frequent flier miles of its own. Buying local flowers saves fuel because they don’t travel as far. Usually, local flowers are the ones that are native to the region, also. Growers often don’t need to use as many fertilizers or pesticides on native flowers.
- Wood. Do you smoke meat? You can purchase wood from local farms to smoke your meat on instead of buying wood from far away. Selling wood from trees that must be cut down is an additional source of income for local farmers, too.
- Honey and beeswax products. I am a total convert to local honey. Over the weekend, I even decided to use local wildflower honey in my frozen strawberry daiquiri (made with the last of the local strawberries) instead of sugar and got fabulous results. Buying local honey supports the bee farmers and their bees that might be in danger right now. Plus, consuming local honey regularly may help diminish seasonal allergies. Purchasing beeswax candles and soaps is another way to help support the local bee farmers.
- Maple syrup. If you splurge on the real stuff, why not let those dollars go to local producers? Most of the syrup in the United States comes from the Northeast. However, there is limited production in some other states. Find out if your state or region produces maple syrup, and if they do, where it can be purchased.
- Nuts. Here in New Jersey, we grow hazelnuts and walnuts. I just found that out, and now I need to find out where I can buy locally grown nuts if I ever need them. Do you know what nuts grow in your region and where you can buy them?
Am I missing any local products?