Farmers market season is getting off to a great start here in the Llano Estacado region. We had great amount of rainfall that will no doubt be wonderful for independent farmers throughout the region. As you probably already know, our goal at Local Llano is to allow our region’s inhabitants the opportunity to better “experience your food shed”. We do this by providing a resource for local growers, buyers, consumers and cooks to be able to remain informed about the area’s best food—the local food.
Just what is a foodshed? It is the geographic region that produces the food for a particular population. Here are some reasons to take advantage of your local foodshed:
1. Eating Local Preserves Local Agricultural Land
This happens on a small scale. Buying locally-produced foods will ensure your local producers can continue their operations. Most local producers have family-owned farm and ranch land that could end up in the hands of land developers, factory farms, or other more impersonal types of organizations. As producers are able to sell their product, they will hopefully be able to make profits that allow their smaller-scale, detail-oriented food production plausible for the future. Eating local keeps fields green and under the control of those same families that will likely be handing you your fresh produce at the market.
2. Eating Local is the Fresher Way
You are cooking dinner and you pull a tomato out of your fridge. You then realize the tomato has not ripened fully and disappoint sets in. Buying fresh produce can solve this problem. Because the products at the your local farmers market are grown in the Llano Estacado, we get to know the background about the food we eat: the day and time it was harvested. Eating food cultivated closer to home removes additional steps from the “farm-to-table” chain, eliminating the shipping and handling process. The benefit from this removal is products being sold at your local farmers markets are fresher, picked at the peak of perfection.
3. Eating Local Supports Your Local Llano Community
This is an obvious, but also important reason. When you shop at your local farmers markets or buy directly from local producers, more of your money stays in your hometown region. That is a huge benefit for the area and an economic impact that can transform communities. Local quality of life gets a boost when money stays at home and you are supporting a small, neighboring grower/producer rather than a business thousands of miles away. Eating local foods keeps money circulating in the area.
4. Eating Local Can Keep You Informed
Ever wondered how your food is grown? That is increasingly difficult to understand in this day and age. But with locally-grown produce, you have a good chance of knowing where your food was cultivated. Not only can you know its origin, but you can also find out how it is grown, how it is harvested, and how it is washed. There is a good probability your local producers would even let you visit the fields that supply your family with fresh fruits and veggies. There is many questions you cannot answer when you are buying a sealed bag of peppers from a grocer.
These are just a few reasons why eating local is a real benefit. It allows you a more interactive food experience. Food is meant to be enjoyed: it is meant to offer an experience. Local Llano’s intent is helping the people of the Llano Estacado begin to experience our food more fully by experiencing our locally-grown food more deliberately.
Do us a favor and let us know when we are missing a local producer or farmers market on our lists (farmers markets; local producers). We want to make sure we have an updated, cumulative list to serve as a resource for anyone interested!