‘Tis the season for eat’n! After a belly bulging Thanksgiving, most of us will be enjoying the holidays by the spoonful. While we often think about eating local when it’s time for a spring harvest, this time of year, you can still find local produce in and around the Outer Banks!
Right now, farm stands along 158 are stocked full of sweet potatoes and collards grown nearby. Some stands also are carrying apples grown in the mountains of North Carolina. And local peanuts are always available, so no need to ever buy those in the grocery store!
Why buy local?
In general, local food is more sustainable. But there are many good reasons you should check out the farm stands.
Local food is closer, which saves energy and resources. On average, most produce grown in the States that we buy in supermarkets is shipped 1,500 miles. Of course, much of the produce we buy is imported from Mexico and other places around the world. By buying local, we conserve the energy and resources required to transport our food. This is especially important to help our nation break its addiction to oil.
Local food is fresher (and that means tastier!). According to LocalHarvest, most produce in the U.S. is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves. Buying direct from the farmers cuts out this lag time.
Local food is often cheaper. An added benefit to buying from local farmers is that you can find great deals on seasonal food at most farm stands.
Buying local supports the local economy. Your purchase supports local farmers and their families rather than large agribusiness corporations.
To learn more about local food and what’s in season, check out this handy local food availability chart.
So now that you’re pumped about buying local, I thought I’d share some ideas of what to do with the sweet potatoes since you can very easily and inexpensively find them throughout our region all year long. Sweet potatoes are a favorite holiday dish on their own, but they are so versatile they can be used in all kinds of recipes. They also are very nutritious! You can use sweet potatoes to make make hearty biscuits, soups and chili and of course, pie. One of my favorite dishes using sweet potatoes is Caribbean Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup. Here’s the recipe, enjoy!