How to Eat Local
1. Make the choice to buy local.
Start with making the choice to buy local and plan for it. Make a conscious commitment to buy local products, and put it on your schedule. Start with something manageable for you: once a week or once every two weeks or whatever works for you. Look through your kitchen and decide what you could buy locally. Even if you don’t cook, you can enjoy fresh local fruit year-round. You don’t have to change your whole lifestyle, but choose local as often as you can. Every choice counts!
2. Go to the Farmers' Market.
You can buy fresh, local produce directly from the grower at a Certified Farmers’ Market. Choose to visit a farmers’ market in your town once a week, on the weekend or on your way home from work. Find markets convenient for you at:
- Foothill Farmers’ Market (Placer & Nevada Counties)
- Nevada County Growers’ Market (Nevada County)
- Nevada City Farmers’ Market (Nevada City)
3. Join a CSA or Meat Buyers' Club.
If your family eats a lot of vegetables, fruit, or meat on a regular basis, consider joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture- see glossary) farm or meat buyers club.
The Sierra Foothills Meat Buyers Club offers monthly deliveries of grass-fed beef, lamb, goat, pork and chicken to local pick-up locations. Pasture raised, organic eggs are also available.
4. Shop at local produce stores that carry locally grown products.
A few of the Nevada and Placer County markets that feature local produce:
- · The Briar Patch Co-op, Grass Valley
- · The Confluence Kitchen and Market, Auburn
- · Machado’s Orchard, Auburn
- · Newcastle Produce, Newcastle
5. Ask where a product is grown.
Wherever you shop, ask where the produce is grown if it isn’t labeled, and request locally grown produce. If enough shoppers request local products, area grocery stores may start to buy locally.
6. Plan a family visit to a local farm.
Visit a farm and plan your menu around your purchases. Or intentionally take a different route home that takes you by a farm that sells fresh fruit or vegetables. Do respect farm rules and pick only when you are invited.
7. Learn the seasonal cycles of local produce.
Learn what is in season and plan your menus around available products. The changing seasons add variety and interest to meal plans. For information on seasonal produce, go to What’s in Season this Month?
8. Learn how to handle, store, and cook fresh produce.
If you don’t know how to use or cook certain fruits or vegetables, many growers have recipes, and they can tell you how to best store their products. Our Produce Pages provide helpful tips on how to buy, handle and prepare locally grown produce.
9. Feature in-season products in your meals.
Eating fresh produce at its peak is a rich experience and contributes to the success of the whole meal. Fresh local produce has rich, deep flavors and does not need a lot of cooking or added condiments to be delicious. Keep up with what is currently in season by checking out What’s in Season this Month?
Drying, canning, fermenting, and freezing are great options for preserving foods to enjoy later. Purchase extra produce in-season and relive the great taste when it is no longer in season and imported produce doesn't look so great.
We have a list of basic resources on food preservation, and there is a wealth of information on safe food preservation available from UC Cooperative Extension in science-based publications which can be ordered (and some downloaded free) from an online catalog. Or you can visit the Sacramento Master Food Preserver website or the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Change happens one decision and one person at a time. Make a different choice today, choose to eat local first!
For an easy to download set of 10 Easy Steps to Eating Local, click here!