One thing to look forward to is the first day of Spring, warm weather, and the many opportunities for fresh, local produce the upcoming seasons will bring. If you know anything about Delaware, it is probably that there is a farm of some type on just about every back road – which is a great thing when it comes to healthy eating!
There are many benefits of buying local produce. It is fresher than anything you will find in a grocery store which means it will taste better and will most likely contain more nutrients. Buying from local farmers is also great for our local economy – which is important now more than ever.
Community Supported Agriculture
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is becoming a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here is how it typically works: A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public which usually consist of a box of vegetables and sometimes may also include other farms products such as eggs and milk. Weekly shares are purchased upfront through a membership or subscription and are available through pick-up or delivery each week throughout the farming season. For more information on CSAs visit: www.localharvest.org/csa/.
A Farmer’s Market is an area where local growers gather once or twice a week to sell their produce directly to the public. The Delaware Farmer’s Market Guide can be found on the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s website by visiting http://dda.delaware.gov/marketing/FarmersMarketsGuide.shtml or by downloading the Delaware Fresh app from the your app store supported by your mobile device. More information about the app can be found here: http://delaware.gov/topics/apps.
U-Picks / PYOs
A U-Pick or Pick-Your-Own Farm is one in which you travel to a farm and pick fresh produce directly from the field or orchard. To find a u-pick farm in Delaware and other helpful information about canning and freezing fresh produce, visit http://www.pickyourown.org/DE.htm.
Roadside & Farmside Stands
An informal, but convenient, way to purchase local produce is at a roadside stand. Roadside stands pop up all over Delaware between May and July and offer many fresh produce selections including tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, peppers and peaches. Find your closest Delaware roadside stand by visiting http://dda.delaware.gov/marketing/FarmstandsGuide.shtml.
Unfortunately, many children never learn where their food actually comes from. In addition to great nutrition, farms and farmer’s markets can also provide excellent agricultural and nutrition education opportunities for children and families. So the next time you get held up behind a tractor or combine, just relax and think of how lucky you are to have so many opportunities to eat healthy in Delaware!