Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Food is Food... Right?

Wrong! There are many different kinds of food. We all know what local food is. It's food that is grown locally, or within 100 miles of your home. Organic food is food produced without pesticides, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), or other stuff you probably don't want in your food. "Normal" food is the non-organic food you get at the supermarket.

I read about how it can be hard to choose among local, organic, and normal food. The local food isn't always in season, so you can't rely on that too much. The organic food is usually more expensive than the normal food. Then the normal food isn't as good for you! It's a hard choice. Imagine that you are in the grocery store. You have a choice between organic California strawberries, "normal" strawberries, or local strawberries. Which one should you pick?
It depends on what you want. If you want to avoid pesticides, go for the California berries. If you just want to save money, buy the "normal" berries. If you want to support the local farmers and reduce your food miles, then get the local berries.

We know what local food is, and the pros and cons. Organic food is, like I said, food grown without pesticides and GMOs. It's usually more expensive than "normal" food, and that turns people away. It shouldn't.

"Normal" food is the produce that may be grown in other countries with GMOs and pesticides, picked before it is ripe so it isn't rotten when it reaches its destination, and shipped almost 2000 miles to the grocery store. This food is cheap. It is durable. (It has to be to survive the trip.) But does it taste good? Have you ever had a farm-fresh cucumber? Neither have I. I don't like cucumbers. But my sister loves 'em. She could probably eat a whole cucumber in about three seconds, but it would have to be a farmers' market cucumber. Who wants to eat something that's seen more of the world than you? That's not what I think of when I think "normal", and yet that is what most people eat. That is the new normal, and it makes me glad I'm not.

Those are your food choices. You pick. Nobody makes you eat anything. Nobody makes anybody eat local veggies, and nobody makes anybody eat "normal" food. What do you want to eat?

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's Not Hard to Eat Real Food

You may think that eating real food is too hard, too boring, or too dramatic of a change. It's not.

You don't have to switch from processed foods to farm-fresh veggies overnight. Instead, take baby steps. Switch to organic produce. Avoid foods with ingredients with names you can't even pronounce. Go to the farmers' markets every so often to check them out and pick up some veggies. Once these changes are a regular part of your life, you can start to pick up your meat and eggs along with your produce at the market. The main idea is real food, but local real food is even better. Eventually, shopping at farmers' markets will be as normal as going to the supermarket.

I love going to the farmers' market. It's fun. You can find all kinds of veggies, fruits, cheese, coffee, meat, soap, plants, treats and even jewelry. I love it when the vendors offer free samples. Yum!

The farmers' market isn't a hard thing to incorporate into your lifestyle. It takes a little more planning than going to the grocery store and buying convenience foods. It can be hot, or cold, or wet at the outside markets, but when you factor in all the benefits of fresh, local foods, it's totally worth it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Local Menu

My mom makes a menu at the beginning of the week, so we know what we're having for dinner each night. It's important for us to eat "real" food. Real food is food that is minimally processed and it truly nourishes you. Sometimes this is hard, but we prefer eating real food together instead of frozen dinners or fast-food. This is a typical menu of real food for us:

  • Pasture-raised roast chicken with Carolina Ruby sweet potatoes, which are the best sweet potatoes ever, and broccoli
  • Crustless quiche, a.k.a. egg night (made with whatever we have in the fridge: chicken, bacon, veggies), tomatoes from a local greenhouse, and homemade cornbread
  • Bratwurst with peppers and onions and homemade sauerkraut or coleslaw (made with homemade mayonnaise)
  • Grass-raised, grass-finished burgers with coleslaw, twice-baked potatoes and carrots
  • Chili with stew meat and Italian sausage
  • Cheddar cheese soup with chicken and broccoli
  • Pork chops, greens, and Carolina Ruby sweet potatoes (we love them)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hi, Everybody!

My name is Kaynan Goldberg. I am a 12-year-old locavore. What is a locavore? Somebody who tries to eat mostly local food. My family shops at the farmers' markets as much as we can. Luckily for us, the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area in NC (the Triangle) has plenty of farmer's markets.

We aren't perfect. My baby brother is a little monkey and could probably eat bananas all day long, which do not grow in NC. We can't buy olive oil locally, either. We can buy local cheese, but it's expensive. Less food grows in the winter, so it's harder to find veggies. We aren't perfect, but we do our best.

There are lots of benefits to being a locavore. The food at the farmers' markets was probably picked the morning you bought it. When food is that fresh, it tastes delicious. You haven't had a real apple unless you've had a fresh-picked apple from the farmers' market. Fresh food is also better for you. The food's nutritional value drops if it sits around for a long time. Eating it soon after harvest gives all the vital nutrients in the food. Another benefit is all the variety you get from eating local food. Farmers can't grow food that isn't in season, so you end up trying new foods that you may learn to love.

Being a locavore is great. Through this blog, I want to show you how you can eat locally, too. I'm hoping that I can help spread the idea of the local food movement. This is my way of making a change.