Produce stands and farmers markets are truly a treasure. When I think of a farmer’s market, I quickly envision rows of tented tables covered in fresh produce, flowers, nuts, crusty baguettes, organic treats and jewelry located in the heart of Santa Monica. Sunny cities with a seemingly endless summer are most fortunate in this department. Still, those of us living in seasonal locations, while often having local winter vegetables at our disposal, must embrace the spring, summer and fall and cherish every ounce of local produce available!
Virginia Beach has fantastic resources for year round local fare. Within the next month, we’ll have access to local asparagus, may peas, greens, spinach, herbs, onions, and strawberries. Come June, we’ll have local beets, berries, green beans, squash, and cucumbers. The 4th of July fireworks celebrate our nation’s independence as well as the culmination of all things local – corn, tomatoes, melons, peppers, okra, peaches and more!
The Chesapeake Bay is rich in seafood and boasts fresh flounder, tuna, rockfish, crab, and oysters! Welton’s Seafood, Shellfish Company and Dockside Markets are just a few of the local sources for fresh from the bay seafood.
There are many benefits to buying local produce. The exceptional freshness of produce consummed immediately after being picked from the vine cannot be beat – local food is fresher than produce shipped from other states and countries AND it is not grown to withstand industrial harvesting or long range travel. Buying local produce also supports your local economy thereby strengthening your community. Purchasing from local farmers you trust assures that you know where your food came from – even better, organic produce is free of hormones and pesticides intended to extend a product’s shelf life. While large corporations dominate the food market in America, buying local supports family farms and helps sustain small farms throughout the country. Lastly, buying local is a sustainable choice. Local produce does not have to travel by plane, train or long haul trucks, reducing the emissions created in transporting food from the vine to the your table.
So make a date with your local farmer! Seek out a market or produce stand today and start enjoying what was grown in your own backyard.