You’ve heard, I’m sure, the practical advice of shopping around the perimeter of your grocery store. Produce, meat, dairy and baked goods are usually located around the outskirts of any supermarket. It’s what’s in the center of the store, the crackers, cookies, juices, and frozen prepared foods that are more important to avoid. Well, I’d like to suggest, that we take this conventional wisdom to a new level….
In my opinion, we should be shopping the perimeter of our cities.
Within an hour or two of many large cities lies the source of our food; the farms and the farmers who work so diligently to produce the food we consume. Now, I understand that much of it is the large, industrialized, food-factory type of operation that I would rather not support. But nestled among them are the family run, small scale, ethically grown and raised farms, who value sustainability, not just as a marketing tool, but because their very livelihoods depend on it. These are the farms I suggest supporting.
There are several different ways of going about this. The Fraser Valley, where I am from, offers a Circle Farm Tour, where local farms and artisanal food producers are highlighted in a self- directed pamphlet. I have discovered artisanal cheese, coffee, chocolate makers in this way! Any food co-op or farmer’s market will probably have privy information to local producers, even if your municipality does not offer such a list. A quick internet search will also offer up most every local food destination possible.
While it is possible to order pretty much anything online these days, I would encourage you to begin by searching out the finest food in your area. It will arguably be the freshest, most unique, and passionately grown, raised or produced food you will eat. And discovering these local producers will only add to the delight of indulging in the food they produce.