The Produce

Produce is something we all should be eating. And yet producing produce is less than easy at times and leads to choices as to store bought, growing your own or buying direct from a farmer. I grew up around gardens and thus I have a craving for produce and saving the bounty summer gives me.

Luckily I live in New England, out in the suburbs of Maine and it gives way to rural countryside pretty quickly. Which means I have neighbors and friends who garden. I pass farm stands everywhere I go, and there are farmer’s markets in just about every town around me once a week. So I can go pick my own, or purchase what I need from a local grower-providing I get up early enough. As I watch local farms get sold or go up for sale it makes me happy to be able to support those who still wish to farm instead of other things.

I am also blessed to live near Hannaford grocery stores which run a program called Close to Home. Close to Home is a program where they source and tag local products. Olivia’s bare roots basil, cider from an orchard in Rochester, Kate’s of Maine butter, and other products all come under the tag, and the tag is different from the regular shelf tag so you know to look for it. Since summer is finally in full swing the produce is finally starting to show up. Last week I saw pickling and regular cukes, raspberries and blueberries, beans, peas and squash all from a local farm. With a little bit of dirt on them, just like you’d get at home. There are also some locally sourced meat and fish and other items throughout the store, but the produce is a gem. One stop shopping is a gift these days and I can only hope that Hannaford reimburses the farmer’s fairly.

So while I am not a 100% organic, localvore, granola crunching hippie I do have alot of frugal and homegrown additive-free genes. Maybe one day when we have  the time and money (and sunshine) I can grow organically myself, but until then I aim for more conscientious food which is fresher and tastes like produce should taste.