Skip the Jet Setters and Go for the Townies

by Rachel on March 10, 2010

Right now, eating locally is a trend that’s nearly replaced eating organic. Eating locally is all about helping the planet by choosing food grown in your home state and skipping foods that have to be shipped in from warmer climates. OK so fine, we know this. But on an everyday level, are we actually doing it?

While I always try to think about what is local, it never occurred to me that some foods are way less local than others. There’s not just like homebody veggies and party girl veggies. There’s also straight-up jet setting veggies. I found a list the other day on the Natural Resources Defense Council Web site of the foods that are the real world travelers. These are foods that you should try to buy at the farmer’s market when they are in season — otherwise, your food might be really racking up the frequent flier miles.

Here are the foods that get around (the world, that is).

  • Asparagus (Peru)
  • Bell peppers (Netherlands)
  • Tomatoes (Netherlands)
  • Blackberries (Chile)
  • Blueberries (Argentina)
  • Cherries (Chile)
  • Raspberries (Chile)
  • Peaches (Chile)
  • Nectarines (Chile)
  • Papayas (Brazil)

A lot of fruits and veggies have the “country of origin” sticker these days…so now you can actually pay attention to it! I always think, “Oh hey, blueberries! I want to eat you!” Do I notice that they come from Argentina? Maybe, but I never really thought about what that means in terms of travel.

Once you’ve eliminated the foreigners (don’t get all worked up — I support immigration), the next step is to replace them with local produce, or, as I like to think of it…Townies!

What’s kind of interesting to consider is that what’s local and in season for you is different than what’s local and in season for me! (Just like a Townie for me and a Townie for you could be two very different guys…) When I was in Florida in January, the fruit was just incredible. But hey, up here in the Mitten, we’ve got some healthy acorn squash!

If you aren’t sure what’s in season near you, you can hit up the NRDC site and actually search by state and season to find your best picks for right now! (Updated: if the NRDC falls short in your state, try Field to Plate.) Most foodies and experts consider eating what’s in season “eating as nature intended.” And we usually do this anyway; we crave certain foods certain times of year. And while, yes, maybe Taco Bell is “in season” in your neck of the woods, perhaps it’s time to go with what’s really in season. First, in season produce tastes better. And ever since I’ve been getting my groceries delivered, I’ve been so happy with the variation in my diet! I’m happy knowing that all the different colors and flavors bring along all different nutrients.

So next time you’re lusting over the blueberries, try to think to yourself,  “OK, yes, I’m a sucker for a guy with an accent, but do I really want to go there? Maybe once in a while, if it looks reallllly good, but overall, I know it’s better to settle down with a guy closer to home.”

Long-distance relationships never work — and that goes for your produce as well!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa (It's a Veggieful Life) March 10, 2010 at 8:16 am

I buy locally when I’m at the co-op or the local market, but sometimes it’s just not possible. I’m trying to incorporate more fruits & veggies into my life…that’s enough pressure. lol!


2 Jodi March 10, 2010 at 8:28 am

O000, I love this! I feel a link coming on!lol You could also join a farmer’s co-op type group. I forget the official name but you purchase a “box” of veggies every month and you get what they pick in season–not what you want. But it’s fresher than fresh and locally grown and you can’t go wrong. Also, I am surprised grapes weren’t on that list b/c they get more air time than Kobe showing off!haha Great read! Thank you…:o)


3 Britt @ Runnerbelle March 10, 2010 at 8:41 am

Going Townie is SO much easier during the summer! When you live in norther New England there are only so many root vegetables & squash you can take. We do have a fabulous Farmers Market year round now, so what is in season and local I can find very easily. But summer is where it is at!

I need fruit though and not much fruit grows up here…. so gotta have a few imports or else I’ll only ever eat a mango on vacation!


4 Kathy March 10, 2010 at 1:08 pm

I went to that site and the list said there is no local produce for Michigan for this month : ( What am I supposed to eat that’s fresh and local during these winter months then?


5 Rachel March 10, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Hey Kath — I just found another good resource:! Also you should check out Door to Door Organics and see if they deliver to the west side of the state…I’ve been loving it!


6 Emma March 10, 2010 at 9:32 pm

I can’t find the local produce finder thingy! I’ll try the one above, but could you please send me the other one too?

Thank you!


7 Rachel March 10, 2010 at 9:33 pm

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