Eat, Buy, Drink & Think Local
What Is Eating Local?
Wikipedia defines local food (regional food) or the local food movement as a “collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies, one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place” and is considered to be part of a broader sustainability movement. It is part of a concept of local purchasing and local economies, a preference to buy locally produced goods and services. Those who prefer to eat locally grown and produced foods are now referred to “localvores” or locavores. While each locavore can create its own definition of local, the Niagara Culinary Trail is working to provide tools for Niagara residents and visitors like it’s 100KM Kitchen, a collection of Niagara Dishes.
Niagara Farm Markets
At a farmers’ market a shopper can look the farmer in the eye, ask a question or express appreciation for work well done. It means we can trust our food sources, for we can come to know those who actually grew the vegetables and the fruit, raised the chicken and made the cheese. And they make it possible to sit down to dinner and put a face and a name to what we are eating from vegetables and meats, to honey and preserves. Knowing who produced what we eat is one of the most extraordinary experiences one can have today, one that reminds us that our lives are inextricably connected to others. For many the farmers’ market is a place to become more deeply at home where you live.
Niagara On-Farm Markets
There simply is not a city or fair-sized town anywhere in Niagara that does not offer at least one is not dozens of road-side stands. The farms may look and feel simple but many hidden hours of work are concealed behind fresh produce you can easily drive up and purchase. On-farm markets provide a way of revitalizing local food cultures. Here you can find foods that truly typify a region; peaches, sweet cherries and fresh salad greens mixed in with unique products such as edamame beans, walnuts and miniature pearl eggplant. Niagara is one of Canada’s Tender Fruit Belts and here you’ll find amazing fruit like succulent, juicy strawberries, luscious cherries, sexy plums intact with their bloom and plump peaches waiting to be savoured. Keep your eye out for all of it wherever you go.
How To Buy Local
You can choose to pick up the Niagara Culinary Trail map and find destinations to shop; stroll through a farmers market on a sunny summers day or stop by a farm stand on your way home from work, spend an afternoon driving the country roads in search of restaurant quality vegetables or pick up some gourmet items
Community Shared Agriculture is a partnership program where consumers purchase a share in a small farm. Then each and every week during the growing season, participants pick up a basket of just-picked goodness from the garden. Shareholders can pick up at the farm or another location at a scheduled time each week.
Organic Harvest Box Program is similar to a CSA, however the Niagara grown fruits and vegetables are supplemented with Ontario grown organic produce for a service that will sustain you year round.
Why Buy Local?
- Food grown in your own backyard and picked daily is fresher and tastes better than food shipped long distances.
- Small farmers can offer produce varieties bred for taste and freshness rather than for shipping and shelf life.
- Knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown means you’re choosing safe food from farmers who avoid or reduce their use of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified seed in their operations.
- Three decades ago tourists visited Niagara for the fresh peaches. Today they come for the wine and agriculture struggles to survive. Support our family farms.
- Farmers are our friends, our neighbours and our suppliers of safe and nutritious food. Buying direct at the farm ensures more of your money gets into the pockets of the grower.
Why Buy Local? continued
- Buying local means that farmers get their fair share of your food dollar. It keeps farming traditions and cultures alive.
- Getting to know your local growers builds relationships of trust; the foundations of a strong community.
- Local farmers will reinvest more of your food dollar back into the region.
- When you buy local, you’re voting with every food dollar you spend. You’re voting for the availability of fresh, healthy produce and for a strong and healthy community.
- Buying, eating and drinking local products support a healthy Greenbelt.