10 benefits of locally grown produce

Published in Weight Management, For the Health of It Author: Jenni Bremer, MS, Registered Dietitian

We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us. But why are they especially good for us when they are from Minnesota? Since our growing season is short, we need to take advantage of our fresh, local options when they are plentiful.

  1. Taste. Foods taste best when they go from plant to mouth quickly compared to when it is harvested early in order to be distributed to your local store. In Minnesota, the spring and summer months provide a great opportunity to grow your own produce or buy local at farmers' markets for the best flavors. Often produce at farmers markets has been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.
  2. Nutrients. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are allowed to ripen completely on the plant, where they receive the maximum nutrition from the ground providing you with more antioxidants and phytonutrients.
  3. Price. Fruits and vegetables are less expensive when they are in season. Growing your own food or buying from a local farmer, brings the cost of produce down significantly.
  4. Seasonal. Eating local means eating seasonally. By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.
  5. Economy. By spending your hard-earned money on food produced close to home, your dollars go back into your local community.
  6. Environment. When you purchase locally grown foods you are helping to sustain farmland and green space in your community and reduce your carbon footprint.
  7. Hydration. Fresh fruits and veggies have very high water contents.
  8. Digestion. Fresh fruits and vegetables have high fiber contents. Your body needs 25-30 grams of fiber per day.
  9. Safe. Locally grown foods may contain fewer chemicals. Smaller, local farmers tend to use fewer chemicals then the large factory farms. Also, the fewer steps there are between your food’s source and your table, the less chance there is for contamination.
  10. Variety. When a farmer is producing food that will not travel a long distance, will have a shorter shelf life, and does not have a high-yield demand, the farmer is free to try small crops of various fruits and vegetables that would probably never make it to a large supermarket.

One good decision leads to another, so make smart and local decisions when purchasing your produce.

We hope to see you at the Monticello Outdoor Market and our Farmer’s Market in St. Cloud.