How To Shop Local This Summer
When getting ready to cook and eat, it’s important to shop local and seasonal. People choose to shop local for a variety of reasons. For one, it’s better on the environment: By reducing the miles between where your food was grown or processed and where you live, you can avoid greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles (and the energy to refrigerate certain foods). Also, it supports local small businesses and farms! Shop local by opting for the small businesses and locally owned farms in your community rather than chain grocery stores and retailers.
Shop Local and Seasonal When Possible
If you’re not sure where to shop local, just look around! Chances are there is a variety of local stores and businesses around the corner that you may not have frequented before. Hidden gems like boutiques, specialty food stores, and farm stands are fun places to shop for locally grown or produced products. Shopping local for food generally means shopping seasonally, too: The food for sale at local farms and markets is bound to rotate based on what’s ready for harvest and in season.
When you shop at local small businesses, you are supporting your local economy and keeping money in your community. It’s also a fun chance to see where your food or other products are coming from right in your own neighborhood.
Farmers markets are so fun to explore! You get to meet local farmers, craft vendors, and specialty food producers and check out some of your community’s small businesses all in one place.
Look for Local Farmers Markets
Local farmers markets are a great place to get your hands on the freshest local, seasonal produce and food as it comes straight from the farmer. Most farmers markets run through spring and summer, but some might stay open through the fall or even year round. Search the internet for farmers markets near you and see what’s open and available. Even farmstands —like a farmer’s market in a grocery store— are a good choice when looking for local, seasonal produce.
Aside from all that fresh, local produce, we love farmers markets as a place to convene with small businesses and see what other food is available locally. Think locally made fermented foods, jams and jellies, roasted coffee, baked goods, cheeses, and more— In fact, LivBar is excited to join the Salem Saturday Market all throughout the month of July!
Seasonal eating is all about eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season where you are. It’s easy to consume fresh, recently harvested food if you go for what’s local. Look for a label that indicates where the produce was grown. For example, if you're looking for local Oregon peaches early in the summer, there’s a good chance they have yet to be harvested. Those peaches for sale at your local grocery store might be labeled as a product of another state or even country. Seasonal eating is a great way to enjoy fresh, healthy food and feel just that much more connected to the land beneath your feet and surrounding your community.
Pacific Northwest Summer Eats
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are lucky to be surrounded by a variety of abundant fruits and vegetables year-round. Depending on the season, you can easily get your hands on local apples, berries, melons, tomatoes, onions, lettuces, squash, beans, and much more. The summertime is especially a good time to go for those sun-ripened tomatoes, melons, and berries. Some summer-seasonal produce available in the Pacific Northwest includes:
- Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and other berries (try LivBar’s Raspberry Vinaigrette using fresh local raspberries and honey!)
- Melons like cantaloupe, watermelon, and honey dew melon
- Yellow squash and zucchini
- Several varieties of tomatoes
- Snap peas, snow peas, and green beans
- Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables
- Herbs like rosemary, parsley, thyme, and oregano
It’s easy to keep cooking a variety of deliciously healthy and fresh dishes with the PNW’s rotating selection of local produce. But whatever foods you do end up eating and cooking, we encourage you to shop seasonal and continue supporting local businesses near you!