Hank McCullough colorWell, warm weather is upon us and you know what that means? Lots of fresh and tasty local products become available in the rural and urban farmers market’s that seem to be popping up all across the Upstate. Not that I will ever stop visiting my local grocery chain, but stocking my pantry with regionally grown fruits, vegetables and proteins makes sense on many levels.
    Of all things I find my shopping pace less hurried and enjoyable while browsing through baskets and bins of produce feeling a more intimate connection with food itself in thinking about a fresh and healthy evening menu. Secondly, in a small way I am supporting a regional food system that provides local farmers with collective capacity allowing them to be more competitive with commodity products in serving grocery chains, local restaurants and institutions across the Upstate.
    Locally grown food also travels less (lower energy intensity) and typically requires less processing in order to stay fresh, indeed a concern as we have recently heard about recalls of large amounts of frozen produce sourced to a few large national processors.
    Finally, supporting a regional food network reconnects us within our communities and is already spurring efforts to make healthy eating more accessible and affordable in areas of our region considered food deserts. I can’t really tell if locally grown food tastes better but having the mental connection with the land and the lives that directly depend on its bounty sure makes it seem more tasty!
    Hank McCullough