Eat locally and deliciously
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 - 13:19
As the Independence Day holiday approaches and families begin to prepare for the festivities, another form of independence, freedom from the unsustainable global food chain, should be attempted. Just as Kitchen Gardeners International has prodded the governors of each state to "source the ingredients for their holiday meals as locally, sustainably and deliciously as possible" so should we attempt to achieve this same easily attainable feat.
One straightforward way to eat locally, defined as having sprouted within 100 miles, is to check out the Minneapolis Farmers Market. The Lyndale Market has been around since 1937 and its ancestor, the Minneapolis Outdoor Fruit and Vegetable Market, opened in 1876. This longevity further illustrates the fact that eating locally is not new but simply forgotten amidst the hustle and bustle of our ever busier work and home lives.
The Minneapolis Farmers Market proudly provides access to over 240 vendors which are available seven days a week at North Lyndale and on Thursdays at the Nicollet Mall. Personally, I am a fan of Black Star Dairy out of Solway, MN. They own the cows, bottle only the milk they produce, and guarantee 100 percent rBGH hormone-free milk. My family had grown accustomed to purchasing their fine milk at the local grocer while living in Bemidji and we were concerned we would have to find an alternative after recently moving to Watertown, MN. Not so. Yet another reason to make the trip to the farmers market.
The Minnesota Farmers Market Association provides a list of 29 farmers markets spanning the entire range of the state. Of interest to metro-area residents are the Midtown Farmers Market, NE Minneapolis Farmers Market, St. Paul Farmers Market, and the Mill City Farmers Market.
My dad taught me that free stuff is usually a good deal, and that's one of the reasons I love the FREE directory titled Minnesota Grown which showcases more than 735 farms, farmers markets, CSA farms and garden centers. The directory is offered via the Minnesota Grown Program which is a statewide partnership between the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Minnesotans who grow or raise specialty crops and livestock. To obtain your copy (or a box of copies to hand out to friends) visit the program website.
If you are traveling for the holiday and can’t haul your edibles with you, check out localharvest.org to find a farmers market in the vicinity of your destination. According to the USDA, there are more than 4,600 farmers markets operating throughout the nation. Click here to learn about farmers markets and search their database.
An additional bonus of obtaining your food locally is the fact that your money stays in the local economy and in these uncertain and trying economic times it's commendable to help your neighbor who, in turn, provides an invaluable service which allows you the freedom to eat locally, providing for an increased state of health, sense of community and peace of mind.
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