Why Support Local Food Products

Buy localby: Chef Carrasco

The average food product travels hundreds of miles before it gets to our tables. The tomato that you buy at Walmart does not have the same flavor as tomatoes locally grown because is often picked before it is ripe. When we buy local we support our economy, and we ensure our farmers are getting the right profit for their crops. But many people consider that buying local is expensive compared to the produce that you buy at the regular market stand (quantity vs quality). This investigation encompass the new trend of changing to a more sustainability way, by moving toward supporting local food producers and its relativity within a local buyer as well.

Based on Alissa Hearts Food (2013) people who support local farmers by buying products are directly supporting the local economy of the country. To the contrary of the farm industrialization, local farms also invest their dollar in their own community. These investments are integrated in machinery, organic products, and farm supplies. Consequently, food which is grown locally is as well as handled locally, and distributed locally. In our particular topic why restaurant should support local food producers, and besides to be rich in nutrients, quality or flavor, we need to consider that this opportunity also contributes to create more opportunities for new generations by creating new jobs, and empower the local economy of any particular country.

Recently, I watched a documentary which relates in certain way to this topic. The documentary is about people who go around the globe searching for different fruits, fruits never seen in our local market. Not because they are fruit from other countries, but because they are in danger of extinction. 35 years ago, I remember in my grandparents’ house, even thought it was a small parcel, it was the Garden of Eden. We used to have so many different types of fruits, including a great variety of bananas, and vegetables. I had the opportunity to indulge and taste all these fruits. Today, the majority of these fruits are no longer available, because my grandfather past away more than 30 years ago and the many hurricanes that have hit the island. Today my mother ask her self: what is going on with our fruits in Puerto Rico? It seems that they are disappearing!

Watching this documentary “Fruits Hunters” (2011) I realized that the only banana we consume is the Cavendish banana, when we have approximately 1000 different types of banana plants in the world today (Hiskey, 2010). I do not have anything personal against the Cavendish banana, but the reality is: having so many different types, why we only consume only the Cavendish?   This question can be answered by people who are supporting the industrialization farming, responsible for producing genetically fruits in great scale, by commercializing only one type of banana, one type of apple and etc. etc. and what is happening? For example, the other type of banana is disappearing, because it is preferred by businesses due to different alternatives, easier to ship, last longer and they stored longer.

The true story is, that supporting local food production we have other alternatives of fruits as well as vegetables. But not only that, we can have:

  • Great opportunities for our restaurant marketing by integrating terms such as like farm-fresh or locally grown, and on top of that attractive menu description.
  • Menu versatility, and creativity based on availability. New and fresher ideas for menu development and daily specials.
  • Based on Leopold Education (2009) Local foods aren’t as expensive as the regular supermarket. A better opportunity to increase profits and keep food cost lower.
  • Not only can you buy fruits and vegetables. You can also find Poultry, beef and pork available year round, as well as honey, dairy products, and baked goods.
  • A better environment by using less energy for harvesting and transportation.
  •  More variety of hundreds of heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables, adding more flavors and colors to any restaurant.

But it is interesting to know that local food produce does not mean that was organically grown in a particular state. It could be locally grown, but locally grown in a heavily heated, gas-guzzling greenhouse. These point can be a cons. I believe that people who are looking for this type of desire are educated enough to eat entirely locally, knowing that certain vegetables are not available year round, and it was grown in a greenhouse, and may use a lot of energy in order to be produced and that can be the reason of higher cost compare to the one growing seasonal.

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