Saturday, 30 January 2016

Eating Local and Regional Produce

"For more than a decade now, nef has been developing the idea that local food production can underpin thriving local economies.
It is an idea that builds on our concept of using money flows more effectively. You don’t always need extra money to revive your local economy – it can be a matter of using the existing money better so that it doesn’t flow out again at the first exchange." 

*As I write this I am looking at a large watermelon that I am going to slice up today. It was passed over the fence by our neighbours and was grown on one of the local farms.  I have pumpkin roasting in the oven. It was bought at an on farm shop. We had some of this pumpkin the other night. The flavour was out of this world.

Many parts of the region in which  I live have beautiful rich red or chocolate brown volcanic soil. Our aquaculture industry produces: Silver Perch, Sleepy Cod, Jade Perch, Dawson River Perch, Murray Cod, Barramundi, Crab, Prawn, Redclaw, Scallops, and Soft Shell Crab.

Our local fishing industry catches: Prawns, Spanner Crabs, Reef Fish, Mackerel, Scallops and Mullet. However many other species are available in the local waters that are not in the target market for professional fishermen.





We have local producers of: strawberries, avocados, watermelon, macadamia, chillies, figs, bananas, oranges, mandarins, lemons, flowers, zucchinis, pumpkins, tomatoes, corn, lavender, some boutique wine producers,  beans, button squash, cucumber, custard apple, eggplant, honeydew melon, lychee, mango, passionfruit, potatoes, rockmelon, snowpeas, capsicum, honey, sweet potatoes, olives blueberries and sugarcane.
  
Despite all this local abundance most of the local population buy their fruit and vegies at  Coles and Woolworths. Many of our locals have probably heard about 'food miles', but I wonder how many have stopped to think about what food miles really are. A food mile is the distance measured between where the food was grown to where it is eaten. Consider too the additional food miles traveled by fertilisers, fodder, fuel….. the list goes on and on.

  If we were to change our eating habits to eat locally produced food then some of the foods we currently enjoy, would be off the menu. In my case that would include chocolate and porridge. We would be eating foods in season only, rather than all year round as we do with many imported foods now. Food would be more nutritious as it may spend less time in cold rooms.  I think the first step to including more local produce is to know what is in season. Now days many people, including me, have no idea of what is actually in season, as it seems like nearly everything is available year round. 

Do you eat local and seasonal produce? How do you know what foods are in season?

* I wrote this post earlier this year.


6 comments:

  1. Although I reluctantly use Woolworths still for some grocery items, I no longer buy fruit or vegetables there for all the reasons you outline here, also, local produce simply tastes better. I use my local "Fruit Shed" which labels where the produce comes from, also I try and grow a bit here and there, and enjoy some given by generous friends. Fruit Shed produce isn't organic, nor is it always perfect. I wash it well in vinegar and water. I do buy organic berries from the supermarket simply because you can't wash these. I wish I had a farmer's market a bit closer to my house - if I did I would certainly use that.

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    1. I would like to grow more of my own food Hutchy. I have been eating a home grown mangoes for the last month which is great, but the wildlife got all my lychees this season and all my apples that I was looking forward to eating around Christmas. I have started a terrific new vegie garden which I want to post about soon.

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  2. This what I love about our neighbourhood....so many folk selling from their veggie patches. We are spoiled for choice.

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    1. It makes you feel good to see all that local produce around doesn't it? We have a lot of people selling at the farm gate in our area. So much abundance.

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  3. We are spoiled for choice too, Sherri. We have the Lockyer Valley not far from us which I think used to be called the salad bowl of Australia. We have a couple of farmer's markets which are relatively new and a few fruit and veggie shops that sell local produce as well. You can probably buy at the farm gate in some areas too if you are travelling which I don't do much. There are so many different fruits that the fruit fly get into that we tend to just grow what they don't bother like the tamarillos which just go crazy here.

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    1. Having so much locally grown food is something I feel grateful for, we have access to something that many people don't, and as the old saying goes fresh is best.

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