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September 7, 2009 - 5:21pm

Locavore: Someone who eats exclusively – or at least primarily – food from their local area.

posted by Session Placeholder in people, Home, Local Businesses.

How far would you travel for a great meal? Five miles? 25 miles? How about 100 miles? Well that’s the premise behind the 100-mile diet.

Across the country, people are dedicating themselves to a healthier, more sustainable way of eating. If you haven’t heard of it yet…get ready…the “Locavore” movement is here and some culinary pundits think it’s here to stay.

Eating locally grown food is not only good for you, it’s good for our environment too.

Purchasing homegrown produce cuts down on “food miles,” or the distance food has to travel from farm to processing site to market, positively impacting our foods’ carbon footprint. A tomato grown in Southern California has to travel about 2,500 miles before it reaches a grocery store in Batavia. By contrast, researchers at Iowa State University found that locally grown produce travels an average of 56 miles from farm to market resulting in fresher, more nutritious choices for us and for our families.

Surprisingly, a whopping 40% of our fruit is produced overseas then hauled in freighter ships or flown across the ocean before it reaches American tables.

Buying local allows you to enjoy fruits and vegetables at their peak of freshness and flavor. There’s a reason why asparagus is at its tender-best in spring, and why blueberries are so tasty in July.

Visit a farmers market and develop a relationship with a local grower; most farmers are thrilled to share their knowledge and experience with their customers. Ask about the challenges your local farmers face and what they’re doing to address them. Ask about the weather! Any farmer will be pleased to talk about how the growing season is going and how that affects the food they grow. Get answers to questions like: When are strawberries in season? How might I use kohlrabi? What should I do with all this zucchini?

If you’re still not convinced that a Locavore lifestyle is for you …consider this: in a recent survey conducted by CNNMoney.com, 69% of respondents said that it is important to keep food dollars in their communities by buying from a farmer’s market. Buying direct from a farmer sends 90% of those food dollars back to the farm. However, although Americans spend more than $600 billion in food annually, it is most often spent at a grocery store or chain (think Super Wal-Mart, etc.) - with only about 7% of local food dollars staying in the community. The remaining 93% of the modern food dollar travels to pay processors, packagers, distributors, wholesalers, truckers and the rest of the infrastructure that a global food system demands.

More food dollars staying in the community, through buying local, translates into thriving Main Streets and local jobs. It means that more money can be spent locally by the farmer to run his/her business and home, helping to keep the local economy alive. Eating locally grown food raised by farmers who actually live in their communities. What’s not to love about that?

Note: Patricia Hawley is the market manager of the Genesee Country Farmer’s Market. The Market is open on Tuesdays & Fridays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Batavia Downs parking lot (through October 30).

Bea McManis
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I'm all for this. The problem for many is the lack of storage to can or freeze locally grown produce which will hold us through the winter. While I use many root vegetable during the winter months, I do crave the fresh fruits and vegetables not available to us (through local growers) in the winter.
Sean Valdes
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I visited the Rochester Farmers market for the first time this year - I'm ashamed to say I haven't been to the LeRoy or Batavia market yet. I love the fresh food offered, love the crazy people you get to interact with, and I love the fact the markets accept WIC and Food stamps. Buying from more local sources is on my 'personal to do list', I have to get better at it. Supporting our local farmers/growers/merchants makes sense on every level, regardless of your political beliefs.
Chelsea O'Brien
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I think "not having room" is a crappy excuse. If you really wanted to have local stuff year-round, you would find a place to store them. My box of canning jars can fit just about anywhere. We used about 10 tomatoes today to make one jar of sauce. You could can some and only make 3 or 4 jars or whatever you normally use in the winter months. We make chili a few times a year, so I'm planning on canning some tomato paste and plain sauce for that. You can cut up two or three zucchini and preserve them, just like the frozen vegetables you get at tops. Same with peas and corn (and most squash) grown locally. A few bags don't take up a whole lot of space, and would actually save money in the long run (which quite a few people on here continually say is a problem). Applesauce is the same as well, locally grown and personally picked apples are a heck of a lot cheaper than that stuff you buy in a jar at a store.
Lorie Longhany
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Hi Patty! Thanks for posting this great blog entry. I'm right with ya, sister. Last year I posted up a similar story - http://www.thebatavian.com/blogs/lorie/local-farmers-markets-provide-loc... I like to follow the 25 mile rule as much as possible. That way we keep those local dollars circulating around the county. Shopping at the Farmer's Market's also becomes a social gathering. You see all your neighbors and friends. LeRoy's market on Saturday has been very successful this year. I also visit the Perry market on Saturday when I'm at Silver Lake. We grew most of the food that we ate all summer starting with asparagus and rhubarb in late spring. We harvested, ate and froze beets, green peppers, beans, zucchini and yellow squash to enjoy throughout the winter. We harvested some of our winter squash the other day and will probably have to freeze what we don't eat in the next few weeks because our basement is too damp for storage. Bea I made a great squash casserole today for our Labor Day Picnic at the Lake. I used a Hubbard and one Acorn and doubled the recipe. http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1750,131180-242193,00.html I also try to buy Upstate Milk products, knowing that these products come from my local farm neighbors. The ten reasons to eat local: http://fogcity.blogs.com/jen/2005/08/10_reasons_to_e.htm I also hope that we can expand the "buy local" theme and promote community gardens placed in strategic places for people that may want to put some produce in, but don't have the land to facilitate their own garden.
Bea McManis
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Chelsea, thanks for the tips. My apartment is very small and my refrigerator/freezer is apartment size. There is very little cupboard space. In fact I just enlisted my daughter to help organize my pantry so I can maximize its use. Yes, in my day I have made multiple recipes of tomato sauce when I had a big garden. I don't have that garden, but I still make multiple batches of sauce and/or chili. With a family of seven, I froze as much as I could to tide us over the winter beginning with the first sprouts of spring to the hardy root vegetables in the fall. It was way more than just a few freezer bags. I still make my own applesauce; pickles; corn relish; and cranberry compote. I keep fresh herbs for as long as they will last. I appreciate you suggestions. May I suggest a great book for using local produce. Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette. He takes you through January to December. About 70% of his recipes are meatless, simplistic, and healthy.
Peter O'Brien
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To say its good for the environment is crap. Carbon Dioxide is plant food. There is no proof that it causes any warming effect. If it did, this summer would have seen triple digits here. The sun affects the temperature on earth. 0.0384% of the atmosphere is CO2. That's it. To look at it another way, if the atmosphere was a stack of money worth $100,000 CO2 would be $38.40
Howard B. Owens
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Peter, your science is as bad as those who tout global warming as an indisputable fact. We can say nothing about the effect of global warming -- be it caused by sunspots or man made -- from one summer in one location. First off, if true, global warming's effects would be unequally distributed. Some places would get warmer, some cooler. But we could only notice this trend through a very, very large sample size of the earth's history of weather, and unfortunately, there isn't enough data to give us an accurate picture of what's going on. You do not have enough data to categorically disprove global warming or its cause, and neither does the other side have enough data to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. But we do know that smog causes health problems. And we also know that using too much oil and gas causes a supply-and-demand imbalance, causing prices to go up (use less and they go down), and that our over-dependence on foreign oil causes us no end of foreign policy problems. Also, our consumerist society has led us into unsustainable trade imbalances with China and that consumerist attitude is what drives a greater reliance on the government for services, hence more and more debt, which largely we owe to China. So here comes along some things people can voluntarily do to maybe make difference for whatever reason they choose or to address whatever problem they choose to make a priority (they choose -- freedom of choice, not government mandates), and you're knocking it. Volunteerism -- the antidote to an over-burdensome government, and you're knocking it. Some conservative attitude that is ...
Peter O'Brien
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I am only saying that reducing the man made C02 output is a crappy reason to do anything.
Howard B. Owens
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But people have the freedom of choice to follow that reasoning if they like, and I don't begrudge that. My only concern is when the state starts coercing behavior.
Jeff Allen
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There are no downsides to "locavorism". Good for the consumer, good for the farmer, good for the local economy. Most people, however are not be willing to change their buying/eating habits or deal with inconvenience of not being able to get everything at Tops or Walmart. And the carbon footprint angle is a stretch.
Patricia Hawley
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The Genesee Country Farmer's Market accepts WIC, Food Stamps, and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. EBT cards can be swiped for a certain dollar amount and tokens are issued in exchange that can be used at various vendors. And remember, we're open through October 30 so there's plenty of time to visit the market for tomatoes, corn, peaches (we still have them!), cauliflowert, etc. The Niagara Wine Trail offers free samples of locally produced wine every Tuesday and Friday, and Present Tense Books has a large selection of local and regional titles as well. Locavore or not, it's a great way to spend some time before the weather keeps us inside!
Jeff Allen
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Patricia, Is the fact that the Farmers Market accepts WIC, Food Stamps, etc. well promoted? I didn't know it and if those who get the aid aren't informed or encouraged, then a benefit for both is lost.
Bob Price
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I haven't been to any farmers markets this year-I used to stop by Batavia's,but many things were overpriced.The last one I went to was the Public Market in Rochester last year-many different vendors,and REASONABLE prices....
Patricia Hawley
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All vendors have posters explaining the WIC/Food Stamp/EBT program displayed at their stalls. There is also a large sign and a table devoted specifically to coordinating this program. Most farmers have seen a significant increase in the number of tokens being used at their stalls this year. I encourage anyone with any questions to visit me at the Genesee Country Farmer's Market on Tuesdays or Fridays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. We'll be at the Batavia Downs Parking Lot until October 30.
Jeff Allen
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Thanks Patricia, is there promotion being done to get the aid recipients to the market? I only ask because I think it is a win/win but only if they know to go in the first place.
Chelsea O'Brien
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I would frequent the market more often if the hours were different. I leave Batavia at 7:30, and on a normal work day, don't return home until 5:30. I realize that expanding or changing the hours might be an inconvenience for the vendors, but I just can't make it there in time to do the shopping I'd love to do.
Karen Miconi
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Your doing a great job Patty!! You are like Batavia's first lady. Im sure the whole family is very proud of you, as are Mike and I. Its nice to have you supporting Upstate NY. Yes, I do buy produce locally, if I havent grown it myself. Hey Patty who put up the "slow for deer" sign on Bank St.?? That was a great idea. That poor fawn that got hit a few weeks ago, was so cute. We have enjoy watching them this summer. We call them the Hawley Deer, and Mike jokes about you feeding them to much. LOL God Bless
Patricia Hawley
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Jeff, I'll post a blog about the EBT program as outlined by the Farmer's Market Federation of New York and send it to the Daily News as well to publish as a press release. Short of creating a paid advertisement, this should spread awareness about the EBT program as it pertains to Food Stamp/WIC recipients. I welcome any thoughts, ideas, comments about the Genesee Country Farmer's Market/Locavore movement, but mostly, I'd love to see everyone take advantage of this 32-year institution by visiting us! We are one of only a few grower-driven markets in New York State. That is, vendors must grow what they sell.

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