Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Become A Locavore!

A locavore is a person that buys all or a large portion of food that is produced locally – usually within a hundred or so miles from home.
Paying more attention to buying local food helps the farmers, ranchers and your local economy. Even better, eating locally-produced food at home is generally much healthier than purchasing processed foods at the grocery store or your local fast-food restaurant.

Onions are already in the ground in Oklahoma, and St. Patrick's Day will see potatoes being planted all over the Sooner State.  Fresh veggies are fast-approaching.   But no matter where you live, there are tons of locally-produced natural foods - look for the farmers' markets in your town and you will find a gold mine of good taste!

The following are some tips on how to become a locavore….

Make a plan….

You can do this in a hit-or-miss manner, but to be a successful locavore you will need a plan.

Use your local newspaper and the Internet to search and find Farmers’ Markets in your area, and plan to be there early at the next opportunity.

Determine what foods are in season in your area, and concentrate on them when their times come. In the spring you will find lettuce, onions, new potatoes and many other vegetables. In the summer, sweet corn makes its appearance, along with numerous other vegetables and fruits. In the fall comes the squashes, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, apples and other great things.

Buy a food freezer. Food preservation is essential if you are planning to be a serious locavore. If you have the space in your garage or somewhere else, a freezer is a wonderful investment. You can freeze just about every kind of food for use in the winter, when nothing is in season.

Learn to can. You can use a simple water bath canner on many fruits, jellies and jams, because they have sufficient acidity to ward off bacteria. For less acidic foods, including most vegetables, you will need a pressure canner. These can be purchased now at a very reasonable price. Imagine rows and rows of fruits, vegetables, jellies and jams that you preserved yourself! You will save bunches of money on your grocery bill.

When a food is in season, buy it in bulk from your local Farmer’s Market or orchard-owner, then prepare it and preserve it by freezing or canning. Stock up on recipes that feature these foods for later use.

If you eat meat, determine where you can purchase locally-grown meat. This could be at a local ranch or retail store that features locally-grown meat.

Use the Internet to search out a source for local cheeses and milk. You might also find this at the Farmers’ Market.

If you are a fortunate locavore, there will be a local source for whole-grain flour, oats, masa and cornmeal. You may also find a source for healthy cooking oil. The Internet is invaluable for researching these.

If you have motivation and determination, you will find local sources for most major foods. It’s doubtful that your diet will ever be totally locally-produced, because there will be some things that just aren’t produced in your area. Spices, salt and sugar spring to mind.

To be a locavore, you may also have to adjust your food wants and desires, and you will probably be cooking much more than usual. This is not an easy thing to do, and you will need your entire family to be on board. However, if you are serious and make a sincere effort, you will definitely find the locavore experience rewarding, healthy and money-saving.


  1. I would also add that doing a little at a time each year does make the transition much easier!

    A Transitioning Localvore in New Hampshire:

    Marcia Passos Duffy
    Our Local Table, Monadnock

  2. Great post! I just joined our local Oklahoma Food Coop, which is another great way to get farm-fresh local food on the table, especially if you live in an urban area.

  3. Thanks for the comments. You are right about the Oklahoma Food Coop - that is a great way to get local home-grown food. And yes, starting slowly is good, Marcia. I read the recent book by Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) about her family's adventure in going local full-tilt, and they had some struggles, along with success. Have to admire her tenacity!
    Debbie - alltrailsleadhome.