Eating local foods is certainly about eating food grown closer to home, but it is also about being more aware of your food and how it gets to you. How can you beat better tasting food and supporting your local farmers and businesses? Here are Erin’s top 5 tips for eating local:
1. SHOP YOUR FARMERS MARKET
Shopping at your local farmers market is the easiest way to support locally grown produce. Check out Urban Harvest Farmer’s Markets in Houston and meet our farmers. I promise you will not go back to store-bought eggs and greens once you meet Mr. Hatterman or see the beautiful edibles from Animal Farm! Become a member to receive discounts, subscriptions and to support.
2. THREE LETTERS: CSA
If you don’t have time to get to the farmers market, sign up for a CSA! Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) connects you to a specific farm so you can buy a share in a farm and, in return, you get a share of their harvest. You get the freshest, best produce the farm has to offer and it is set aside for you to pick up on your own schedule.
3. KNOW YOUR REGION
Knowing what’s in season in your region will help you to better know which items at grocery stores and restaurants are locally sourced. While health food stores are more likely to clearly label where the foods they carry are grown, conventional grocery stores are increasingly labeling their produce, meat and seafood sections as well. Keep an eye out!
4. SHOP THE PERIMETER + SPEAK UP
The aisles around the perimeter of grocery stores contain more ingredients than processed foods. Shop these perimeters for fresh produce, meats, and dairy. If you know your seasons, you may be able to find some locally or regionally grown items. Speak to the store manager and express your interest, you’ll be surprised at how much simply asking can make a big change.
5. SUPPORT THE BIZ THAT SUPPORTS
Frequent restaurants buy from local farms, growers, and purveyors. Therefore you can continue to support local farmers and producers even when you eat out. Buy from locally-owned food producers such as bakeries, butchers and coffee roasters for foods you don’t cook at home or which aren’t grown locally.
Here are just a handful of restaurants in Houston that support our local farmers: Ruggles Green, Haven, Hugo’s, Backstreet Cafe, Prego, Local Foods, Sparrow, Pat Greer’s Kitchen, Oxheart, among many others!
Follow, tweet and learn with DEFINE foods & Chef Erin Stewart HERE
(photography by: Christi Minter)