It’s not a state secret that buying local is the best option if you can make it happen. The problem is, making it happen is harder than it seems at first. Sure there are farmers market and small local grocers, but unfortunately they tend to have smaller selections and limited brands on practical things like diapers, everyday toiletry items, etc. So how do you support your local economy, get your favorite brand of toilet paper and not go around to your regular grocery store, a farmers market, and a boutique grocer all in one day? Well, while I can’t give you a step-by-step of exactly how to do it where you live, I can tell you how I do it and hope it helps you too. (See the bottom for a list of resources.)
A few things about this whole “buying local” thing:
- Products are considered to be “local” when they originate within 150 miles of your location.
- Local Feeds Local: Local businesses tend to give better quality and service as well as support other neighborhood businesses. So, if you spend money with a local vendor they’re more likely to spend it at another local vendor you patronize (i.e. your favorite coffee spot), so they’re both more likely to stay in business.
- The best thing about buying meats, produce and dairy regionally is that you can literally go see where your food is coming from. You have the opportunity to get to know the people that make the food for your table and know the real quality of how your food is produced. If there is a problem, you’re much more likely to get something replaced when someone is genuinely invested in your satisfaction with their product. I know I have.
1. I make the farmers market a fun ritual, not a grocery run. June-October there is a market on Saturdays right around the corner from my house in Old Colorado City. It’s in my absolute favorite part of town and it’s on the day before my normal grocery store day (Sunday, obviously), so on Saturday mornings I park behind a nice little French bakery, grab some coffee and a croissant and stroll through town to the market. Since I do it this way, I have a chance to grab local fresh produce and baked goods and whatever I can’t find there, I can grab at the grocery store the following day.
2. When I first moved to Colorado I worked for a nutrition company and they helped their clients eat healthy by having a local meat producer, called Anderson Meat Company, bring their freezer truck once a month and park in their parking lot all day, giving them easy access to extremely high quality meat. I was a little skeptical of them at first because it was frozen meat and my husband was extra skeptical, but they kindly gave me a pound of their ground beef to try for free and after I took it home we were both so impressed with the quality and freshness that we were hooked. Since they deliver, this can cut out any driving around I need to do for this one or I can go to a variety of stores that carry their meat (or where any of their trucks are that day).
3. Another great resource I think is super awesome is Door to Door Organics, a company that delivers local fresh organic product directly to your door. You can choose what type(s) of produce you want (fruit, veggies, or a mix) and the size of your delivery. This saves you a trip and gets you a great variety of stuff to try. This is a great option for those with a tiny streak of adventure in regard to your food- you will wind up trying new things and experimenting in the kitchen while still getting plenty of your recipe standard favorites.
4. Last but not least- check the grocery store you already go to! Even the big retailers like Whole Foods carry tons of local brands. Ours carries local meat, cheese, eggs, milk, ice cream and tons of dry products. Though it’s always best to support those businesses that haven’t made it into the big stores, it’s just as important to support those that have! They’re still local and some of that money still makes it back into your local economy.
- Local Harvest – All you have to do is enter what city you’re in and this website will hunt for online stores, farms, CSAs, farmers’ markets, restaurants, grocery stores/Co-ops, wholesalers, meat processors, etc.
- Door to Door Organics – As I mentioned above, this company delivers fresh local organic produce straight to your door! They give you several options to cater your delivery to your family’s needs.
- Eat Well Guide – This group provides a similar service as Local Harvest, though they pull from both similar and different resources. They focus on sustainable eating, so local is the focus!
- Local Foods – Along with being another resource to help you find local foods, they also have a plethora of food and health news to help you stay current on what’s going in in legislation surrounding these topics so important to you and your family.