Dig Into Local Food: A Menu of Ways to Get the Goods
With spring in full swing, we’re eagerly anticipating Southern Oregon’s main growing season and the fresh produce to follow. We work to use local and regional ingredients in our Ashland restaurant and brewery as much as possible, from vegetables and fruit to meat, seafood, coffee and hops.
We’re especially excited that the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market is relocating to the block right in front of Standing Stone Brewing Company. We’ll just have to walk outside our door to replenish our kitchen!
Keeping your diet close to home has lots of benefits. You’ll enjoy fresh, ripe food that’s more flavorful and nutritious. It’s lighter on the planet since food doesn’t travel thousands of miles to get to you. You can invest in your regional economy and connect directly with hardworking producers, which feels great! To maximize the goodness, choose organic and sustainably produced foods.
It’s easy to stock your pantry with local finds these days, as farmers markets and artisan producers are growing in number. Here are some of our favorite ways to savor fresh, local flavor.
Grow your own. If you have a yard, plant a garden with favorite vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees and vines. If not, use pots for individual plants or join a community garden plot. Sow local, organic seed to bring things full circle. This is a great all ages, educational activity, which is why we support Rogue Valley Farm to School’s efforts to connect nearby schools and farms.
Join a Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA): CSA’s are a fabulous way to get a regular supply of fresh food and support hardworking producers. Eating with the seasons also enhances your culinary creativity and appreciation for what comes, when it comes. In a CSA, you generally pay up front in exchange for weekly boxes of veggies, and perhaps other items such as meat, eggs, dairy and bread. Many CSAs hold farm days where you can meet your farmers and other CSA members, and learn more about farming methods. Find CSAs and farms at Local Harvest or THRIVE (in the Rogue Valley).
Frequent the Farmers Market: If you prefer to select your own foods, find your community farmers market and make it part of your weekly shopping. You can connect with producers, learn about their practices, and get their tips for selecting and preparing your fabulous finds. There’s always a festive air and lots of community, too.
Look for Local Labels: Scope out stores and ask friends to find the full bounty that’s produced in your community and region. Produce is just the beginning. Look for grains, nuts, legumes, dairy, meat, eggs, baked goods, coffee and more. If your area has an “Eat Local Challenge,” participating is a great way to learn more, keep it fun and make lasting, positive changes.
Dig into local food – a great way to nourish yourself as well as the planet, economy, and community!