With every new season, our ingredients and menus change! Parkhurst Dining is committed to using seasonal produce and sourcing where it came from through our Know Your Source program led by Parkhurst Director of Sourcing and Sustainability Jamie Moore. We asked Jamie why shopping local is important and what you need to know before you head to the farmers’ market this season.
It’s Good for the Environment!
When you picked up in-season local strawberries this summer, you weren’t just doing something good for your taste buds but also the ecosystem.
“Locally grown food creates economic strength within our community,” says Moore. “It provides health benefits and helps to reduce environmental impact, especially with the cost of fuel. It also brings the community together as we support the local agricultural and business community.”
Money spent on produce from local farms and growers goes a longer way than the alternative because you’re reinvesting in the community and local businesses. This stimulates job growth and in turn impacts other local economies (who knew what buying a little pint of strawberries could do!).
Local, Seasonal Produce Has Benefits that Non-Local Produce Doesn’t Have.
Have you ever noticed that local produce tastes better than non-local? There’s a reason for that!
“I personally support my local farms and businesses because the food lasts longer and it tastes better,” says Moore.
One of the reasons why local produce tastes fresher and more flavorful is because it does not require long-distance transport and typically includes more humane treatment of animals (for example, eggs may taste better because chickens are allowed to graze instead of being kept in a factory).
Plus, when you buy from local growers, it’s okay to be nosy! Come with questions about how they raised the crops and the animals, like “Where does the meat come from?” or “Is the animal grass-fed?”, to make appropriate purchase decisions. (You can’t always ask your grocery store these questions.)
Seasonal Produce Contains More Nutrients Because They Ripened Naturally.
Ever eat blueberries in winter that taste a little. . .off? It’s probably because they’re not in-season.
One of the reasons why local, in-season produce has a more intense flavor than out-of-season produce is because this produce was picked at its peak. When you head to your local farmers’ market this season, Moore encourages you to pick up the following in-season fruits and vegetables for all your flavorful dishes.
“This August, look for corn, eggplant, pears, peppers, and tomatoes,” says Moore. “Then in September, consider apples, beets, brussels sprouts, potatoes, and winter squash including butternut and acorn.”
Now that you have everything you need to know, it’s time to hit the farmers’ market! Happy shopping!