Buying locally grown produce

12 Oct

Purchasing local food is becoming wildly popular these days. It has actually become like a fashion statement to be able to say “oh yeah, I’m a locavore”. But buying local products should not be just another faddy trend. People need to really understand the benefits of buying local products and make a lifestyle change for the better. I, personally, have a strong affinity for this cause. Buying locally grown products not only shows support for small businesses and farmers but it is also healthier.

A lot of the produce offered at major grocery stores travel hundreds of miles before it reaches your hometown. That means that the produce is being picked and packaged days, even weeks, before you purchase it. 20121012-153304.jpgAnd while that produce is just sitting around, it actually loses some of its nutritional value. Vitamins and nutrients start to deteriorate from produce as soon as it’s picked from the ground. So you, the consumer, are not getting the most out of your fruits and vegetables when you buy imported goods. Locally grown produce has a higher yield of vitamins (such as C, E, A and thiamine) and is rich in phytonutrients, which help protect against certain cancers and heart disease.

With that said, I’m sure all of you are reading this and wondering when the heck I am going to be finished with my rant and begin talking about cooking again. But this will all come together, I promise.

So in the summer/fall seasons I enjoy going to different farmer’s markets around the Pittsburgh area. It’s fun to walk around eating fresh cut French fries and scoping out the variety of apples. Plus, you really can’t beat the prices. Last week, I bought a half bushel (aka 13 lbs) of hot banana peppers for $5! What a bargain!

Aside from the farmer’s market, a great place to buy local produce around the area is Soergel Orchards in Wexford, PA. This place is phenomenal. Alex and I went there for the first time this year and we loved it. They sell everything from meats and cheese to wine and pastries. During our trip, I bought some hot cherry peppers which I later made into this game day snack for Alex.

Stuffed Cherry Peppers

10 cherry peppers
1 ½ cups cubed provolone cheese
½ cup chopped salami or pepperoni
2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Slice off tops of peppers and core out seeds.
3. Toss cleaned peppers in olive oil and salt.
4. Bake peppers for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.
5. Mix cheese and salami together. Spoon mixture into par baked peppers.
6. Place peppers back into the oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

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