My family and I recently took our annual trip up to California's Central Coast. We stayed in the beautiful coastal town of Avila Beach, but we spent time in the cities of Solvang, San Luis Obispo (SLO), Pismo Beach, and Paso Robles over the course of the weekend.
As a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo alumni, I have a lot of favorite pastimes in the town of SLO. One of my favorite pastimes that I like to revisit whenever I visit is the Thursday night Farmer's Market. The local fresh produce is absolutely amazing! I was so inspired after this trip to the market that I wanted to write a blog about it.
Sunflowers at the SLO Farmer's Market
In my hometown of San Diego County alone, more than 6,000 farmers work to make agriculture a one and one-half billion dollar industry in San Diego County! Many of the county's growers operate small family farms, with 65% harvesting nine acres or less.
Fresh vegetables at the SLO Farmer's Market
Buying local is simply the concept of buying food produced, grown, or raised as close to your home as possible. Here are just a few examples of the why shopping for local farm products is beneficial to you and your community. (http://sdfarmbureau.org/BuyLocal/Buy-Local.php)
- Local Produce is Fresher: Local produce is picked and eaten at the height of ripeness and was probably picked within the past day or two. Local farmers can also offer produce varieties bred for taste and freshness rather than for shipping and long shelf life.
- Local Food Supports Local Farmers: Family farms are part of the American tradition of self-sufficiency and serve as the basis of local communities. With each local food purchase more of your money spent on food goes directly to the farmer. Local farmers spend their money with local merchants and the money stays in your community.
- Buying Local Protects the Environment: When you buy food locally you reduce energy consumption. Local food doesn't have to travel far. Food, on average, travels 1500-2500 miles from farm to table. Buying local helps to lower energy consumption by reducing transportation and storage, both of which are very energy-intensive and pollute our air and water.
- Buying Local Preserves Diversity: Certified Farmers' Markets are instrumental in preserving the diversity of California agriculture by providing marketing outlets for the small acreage growers of heirloom, culinary, ethnic, and specialty crops not widely grown on a large scale or found at traditional food sources.
Fresh berries at SLO Farmer's Market
So, get out there and enjoy your local farmer's market! Besides the healthy benefits of the fruit and vegetables, you can support your local famers!