Eating Local

By Judy Delperdang


Now is the perfect time to explore eating local.
One of the best ways to eat local is to create your own garden. Start small with a little plot or even a few containers. It’s not too late, and there are plenty of people willing to help. Focus on vegetables or herbs that you love and know you will eat.
Another great place is your local farmers market. Learn when fruits and vegetables are in season by visiting snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guideor www.seasonalfoodguide.org/. Not only can you eat what’s in season now, but you can stock up for the winter. You can often buy large quantities of produce like tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, corn, blueberries or aronia berries very inexpensively. Freezing is an easy way to preserve them for later. Items like squash, potatoes, onions, carrots and beets have a long shelf life, so buy in late summer/early fall and save them for winter. A Preservation Celebration is planned for Sunday, Sept. 15, at Central Gardens of North Iowa, where you can learn about food preservation from a variety of vendors and food artisans. There will also be a tasting table loaded with pickles, preserves, breads and more.
Local meat, egg, honey producers often have products available year round, at farmers markets, specialty stores like Simply Nourished in Clear Lake, and directly from the
producers.
A great local resource is Healthy Harvest of North Iowa, for information on everything from finding local producers to local food events. Visit their website at www.healthyharvestni.comor follow them on Facebook. Local food is also available through North Iowa Fresh, which offers a CSA-style “Bounty Box” and partners with producers and vendors to get local food in restaurants and stores. You can find them at northiowafresh.net and on Facebook.
As always, we hope to see you at the Clear Lake Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 19. We’re located in the parking lot at the Surf Ballroom and Museum. For information, visit www.clearlakefarmersmarket.com and follow us on Facebook.