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"Here's One Vital, and Unrecognized Reason Why Local is Always Better"

- By Yosef Camire

One of the most highlighted benefits of being a CSA member is knowing that your food is harvested and delivered fresh (within mere days). Not only are the vegetables grown regeneratively, chemical-free and with as much nutrient-density as possible etc., but by being harvested and delivered fresh, you know that your nutrients are locked-in and bio-available for your body to process.

This freshly-harvested benefit is something that may be much more important than you, or most, realize.  Not only does supporting local reduce carbon emissions, have a more positive impact on the environment, last longer, taste better and support your local community and economy, but there is a much much more important reason to support local and eat fresh that trumps them all. This important aspect regarding your produce being harvested and delivered fresh, is an aspect that goes WAY beyond the "Organic" label and is a benefit that can only be applied to "local" produce. Let me explain:

Did you know that the average produce travels over 2,000 miles before it gets to your local store!?  After produce is harvested it has to go through several stages and delivery points before making it to your local store. First is the harvest and immediately following is the processing stages (1-2 days). Next, the produce will typically ship out on a truck on day 2 or 3. After travelling an average of 2,000 miles (2-3 days) it goes to a distribution center (now on day 6 or 7 - but could be up several weeks!) and then it finally makes it to your local grocery store by day 8 or 9 on average. Now that the vegetables are at your grocery store on day 8, they don't get put out, usually, until 1 - 2 days later. Therefore, the average vegetables in the grocery store are approximately 9-10 days old by the time it can be purchased by you. However, in addition to this, there is typically a 3 to 5 day rotation of vegetables (since trucks don't come every day), which means that the head of lettuce you just purchased is typically 9 days to 14 days old or older! No wonder your CSA vegetables last so much longer and taste so much fresher 😄!  

So, why is this storage and delivery-time so important aside from taste and the length of time it will last on your shelf? The most important reason for supporting and buying and eating local is due to the nutrient-degradation in the produce by the time it hits your plates.  As Jolene Hanson summarizes it: 

...commercial fruits and vegetables...can be in transit for several weeks before it hits store shelves. Add one to three days before it's purchased, plus several days in your refrigerator after that, and the end product is no match for nutrient-rich crops from your own back yard.

How much nutrient-degradation takes place during this travel time and does it REALLY affect your health? The answer is, a lot - on both counts. See, it's not just what is NOT put into growing the crops that matters (like chemicals etc.), it's also about what's IN the produce (nutrient density) that really matters.  Think about it: Eating a piece of "Organic" cardboard may not have harsh chemicals, but it sure doesn't have nutrients either, and eating that cardboard, though it may not kill you, it won't help you fight disease or make you any healthier either! Diane Barret of UC Davis wrote a very informative article which is a MUST-READ for all members!   The research in her article proves that all vegetables lose a staggering amount of nutrients via the distribution process - even when refrigerated! Diane shows that some vegetables, like green-beans, can lose up to 77% of the nutrients in just a single week in the refrigerator and additionally up to 70% of remaining nutrients can be lost due to canning and processing for storage!

It's no wonder our nation and our world is so sick! Not only are most people eating chemical-laden foods, but they are also completely and utterly nutrient deficient!!! ...and this is, as you know, just one of many factors.

I hope you enjoyed this article, that you keep this in mind the next time you enjoy lettuce or kale or a carrot or a tomato from our farm and also that you remember this also at your next trip to the grocery store.! 


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