HEALTHY ROOTS — (NC) Canadians are wisely increasingly on the lookout for food that is grown or produced close to home — or at the very least, in the same country. And as soon as the warm weather hits, anticipation grows for the first fresh-picked berries, asparagus and corn. But while fruit stands and farmers markets often come to mind this time of year, did you know the widest variety of local produce can be found at the grocery store?
“At Loblaw, we have a Canadian-first buying policy, which means that during our peak growing season, close to half the produce you find in our stores is grown right here at home,” says Frank Pagliaro, vice president, produce at Loblaw Companies Limited. “When you think about it and take out the exotic fruit or citrus — things we can’t grow here — we buy pretty much everything we can locally during this time.”
In case you needed yet another reason to become a local-food shopper, check out top benefits of eating produce that is grown near you.
1. It reduces the carbon footprint. Greenhouse gas emissions are cut down significantly since food does not have to be flown in. Also, transport trucks travel a shorter distance and spend less time on the road when delivering products to producers and grocery retailers.
2. You support local farmers. Buying local produce helps ensure the livelihood of local farmers who rely on their business to support their families. This also helps keep viable farmland and green land from being used for less environmentally-friendly purposes.
3. You get off-the-farm fresh quality. You might be getting produce that was only picked a day before it landed in your shopping cart, versus having been picked a week or two earlier. This allows for produce to be ripened for a longer period of time. Visit your local grocery store and look out for products that were grown near you to get that fresh and juicy flavour.
4. You enjoy great nutrients. Fresh produce is full of essential nutrients that provide your body with the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy diet. Including more produce in your meal routine will provide you with the energy you need to make the most of the long summer days ahead.