|photo: Maria Quiroga|
I would like to be able to call myself a locavore (an individual eating primarily locally grown food), but it's difficult living in the center of Manhattan. I am fortunate enough to live unique building where we grow some basil, chives, parsley and strawberries on our roof but most New Yorkers don't have outdoor space or time to grow anything. One great option for city dwellers is going to the Farmer's Market. There are quite a few in and around the city and more popping up every year. Another option that is becoming increasingly popular is joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Although you are never sure what you will receive from the farmer's crops, this can be a positive thing because maybe you will try a new vegetable you would never think to buy. Veggies from CSAs are also cheaper than purchasing veggies at the market. Also, in addition to vegetables, some CSAs offer the option to include local fruit, eggs and even meat to your weekly order for an additional fee. Of course the winter months put a damper on most CSAs but some do offer a small variety of vegetables and greens, so be sure to check what your area offers.
But why eat locally? First, I think local food tastes better since it is fresher. For example, local tomatoes are picked off the vine when they are just about ripe and almost ready to eat. Since they only have to travel a short distance, there is no need to pick the tomato early in order to allow it to ripen on it's long journey to your grocery store. Also, if food is traveling a shorter distance, this is better for the environment since there is less pollution. It feels good to support the local economy that you live in, so why get bland tomatoes from California when you can get some tasty ones from a small farming community 40 miles away?