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Locally Growned vs. Locally Purchased [split from Prairies]

(Note: This thread was split from: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7270... -- The Chowhound Team)

This is getting out of hand... Seriously folks, do you really think it's better for everyone to drive to Red Deer for "local" produce than it is to buy produce that was grown and shipped in a far more efficient and greener manner? Gimme a break!

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    1. re: Dan G

      I agree with Dan. Here is an article regarding the average shipping miles of food. It's based out of the US, but I imagine the mileage is similar to that in Canada. Look at the table at the bottom of the page:

      http://www.cuesa.org/sustainable_ag/i...

      For example; apples 1555 miles; apples at the San Francisco Ferry Terminal Farmer's Market: 105 miles.

      1. re: sweeterpea

        And as much as I make many of my life choices for environmental reasons (such as buying local and organic), I would much rather eat fruit and veggies that are picked at the proper time and sold to me within a day or three of that, than something that was picked probably 10 days ago, long before it should have been, sent to a warehouse, loaded on a truck, to another warehouse, to another truck, and finally to the store.

        1. re: Dan G

          So you only eat apples for a month or so in the fall?

          And never eat pineapples (unless you live in Hawaii - in which case you never eat apples)?

          1. re: paulj

            I didn't say that, did I? I said I would rather eat... not only eat. And some things can be stored. Apples are one of them, and this year's crop is just coming in and they will be available until about April. In the spring, they won't be as good, but still OK. Most root vegetables store well too, and I live on beets carrots and potatoes for a few months. No, I don;t buy pineapples. Or oranges, though they travel not bad. I do buy grapefruit. Never melons, as they are horrible here, one of the things that needs to ripen properly before picked.

        2. re: sweeterpea

          First, distance traveled is only one of the many, many factors that determine how "green" a particular fruit or veggie is. I can guarantee you that veggies grown in California are far "greener" than the hot house veggies grown here.

          Second, it is FAR more efficient to ship airplanes full of veggies in to the city for distribution than it is for each of you to drive individually to Red Deer to buy what you think is "local" produce.

          The whole local movement is passed off as being environmentally- and economically-friendly, but the truth is that it's nothing more than a marketing ploy designed to get unsuspecting people to pay a premium for their food. This is a shady business, folks... not only are some sellers passing off imported goods as "local," but even those with authentic "local" food are pulling the wool over your eyes by making you think it's somehow more environmentally friendly to buy produce grown here! I'm sorry, but individuals driving to Red Deer for Hot House produce is a joke, and an assault on our environment and our economy!

          1. re: nonlinear

            I've picked asparagus in the fields at Edgar Farms, and picked up rhubarb, zucchini and peas in their farm store. Raspberries, strawberries, flowers, and pumpkins from the fields at Jungle Farm...etc.

            You're assertion that somehow all local farmers are "pulling the wool over (our) eyes" makes it sound like I need to start wearing a tinfoil helmet.

            1. re: nonlinear

              I'm in Edmonton, and no I wouldn't drive to Red Deer for food. But on my way ot the market here - where I know I am buying stuff grown by the people selling it - I pass 6 or 7 supermarkets that I could shop at, but choose not too despite burning fuel to get to the market. I choose not to because those stores are full of garbage: tasteless tomatoes, tasteless carrots, wilted lettuce, frozen peas, white strawberries, etc all of which I will get fresh and tasty from the market. Which is why I said that it is more because of the quality of produce than the environmental impact.

              Regarding the economic factor - I would much rather have my money stay in the area, going to local farmers who spend it here, than distributed among large factory farms who underpay their workers.

              1. re: Dan G

                We have a local market that is passing off their produce/meat as organic and grown by the owner of the store. Just from what I know and what he said while talking to him made this very suspect. I have bought local for 30 years as much as possible. Another time I was in a food coop that one of the members was selling honey cut with corn syrup. I guess you just have to know the farmer. It has gotten much more expensive lately but, there are many more choices.

        3. Yes, it is a bit silly. But it doesn't really bother me. People are free to do what they wish.

          1. Non you have a very good point, especially when you consider that some produce sold as local, is in fact not.

            The ONLY guarantee that produce is local is if you pick it yourself.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Scary Bill

              >>The ONLY guarantee that produce is local is if you pick it yourself

              Not necessarily; take the time to visit and get to know your local farmer and you know that they're not selling you stuff off the truck from California.

              For instance, I have visited Hotchkiss Farms and I KNOW their produce is from their farm. Winter's Turkeys is another farm that is open to visits. We have met Darrell Winter and he and his family are wonderful. If you look around, other local farms are open to visitors and you can see their produce.

              Innisfail Growers (Beck Farms, Edgar Farms, The Jungle) have a customer appreciation day and you can visit their farm as well as I believe Lund's Farm does as well.

              Please get to know and support our local farmers !!

              1. re: sweeterpea

                Sweetie, I did overstate a bit, one should be able to feel assurance if they buy at the farm gate. My invective is absolutely not directed at local, or in fact, any farmers. And I agree the local farmers do need support.
                There is some impracticality though in spending the day driving from farm to farm to complete half a grocery list, and I have to add, in the case of buying meat, usually ending up with frozen, not fresh meat.
                The circumstances of an Alberta climate make shopping local a mostly seasonal and incomplete effort. But it is an effort worth making in many instances.

                Gotta add, I sure like Crossroads this time of year.

            2. Out of hand? Pardon?

              Dean and I live in the area. I don't recall suggesting anyone in Calgary drive out here. Will I drive the 20-30 minutes it takes me to go pick my own? Yes. It used to take me that long to drive to CFM. Do I suggest you visit some local producers? Sure, I think it's great to see who what and how things grow. Do I think it's "greener" than buying California grown? I have no idea. I do know that a fresh picked strawberry tastes better than those that have sat on a truck for who knows how long.

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