How Eating Locally Could Help You Lose Ten Pounds

April 27, 2012   14 Comments

See that sign up there? I drove past that spot yesterday on my way home from the office.

Locavore Movement

Yes, this lovely asparagus was grown on the same street that I live on. SCREEEEEEETCH went my brakes as I grabbed some fresher than fresh asparagus.

The truth is that I have to go OUT OF MY WAY to eat unhealthy food. I know that I am incredibly lucky to be living in such fertile farm land. My house was built where an orchard once stood and I can get local apples all year long.

Enough bragging.

So, I met someone who takes local to a whole level and I thought I would interview her to learn more about incorporating local food in my diet. Mary writes The Valley Locavore and she is a guru for finding, cooking, and eating local food.


Snack Girl: What exactly is a Locavore?

Mary: A locavore is someone who eats food grown within 100 miles of her home.

Snack Girl: Why did you choose to become a Locavore?

Mary: I chose to become a locavore because of a guy. He fed me from his garden and I never tasted better food. Also because eating locally is better for the environment and the local economy.

No shipping necessary, just a ride in the car or a bike ride. Eating locally is healthier and less fattening. No preservatives, hormones or high fructose corn syrup means less calories. I have lost 10 pounds eating this way.

Snack Girl: Is it more expensive for you to feed yourself from only local sources than buying food from supermarkets?

Mary: I believe it is cheaper to eat locally. My partner and I have a combined food budget of $18 a day. We are have shares in three farms: meat, grain and veggie/fruit.

Our milk, eggs and cheese, granola come from local people and stores. I learned to make my own bread and crackers. Our daily budget does not include coffee or wine (which I cannot buy locally) and going out to restaurants. We are human, after all!

Snack Girl: Is it difficult finding local food in the winter here in New England? Have you thought of moving to the tropics where you can get fresh fruit all year round?

Mary: Ha! I often think of tropics or California! The above photo of me blissed-out in Costa Rica - bananas are free!!!

At first, it was very difficult surviving on food in winter that is sourced locally but then it gets to be fun once you know your way around. Not only do you get to know your grower, recent developments in the local food movement make it easier than ever to eat locally in New England:

1) Local grain is available for making bread, crackers & wheatberry salad

2) Extended season growing is taking off. Farms with hoop houses serve up hearty greens all winter. Hearty greens such as kale, mustard greens and chard can be had at farms and winter farmers markets for most of winter (except April). In addition, cold storage is being adopted by farms and orchards making onions, potato, carrot, leek, apples and pears available all year round.

Don't forget that cheese, mushrooms, meat, sprouts, yogurt, milk, butter, potatoes, onions, maple syrup, if you are lucky, fish, are available locally in winter.

Finally, the best part is that I have learned to can tomatoes which is very fun, only a day a year and it makes a big difference. You don't realize how much tomato sauce you consume until you don't have it. I preserve other things to make winter better.

Pickling onions, rhubarb as well as freezing blueberries and canning peaches make all the difference in January. Wheatberry salads are amazing with little pickled things sometimes sweet, some times with vinegar sometimes both.

Eating this way means getting off your rump and meeting new friends. There are worse ways to live! Making bread from scratch changes your life.

Snack Girl: What is your recommendation for those who want to start to eat locally? How do they start to learn about the farmers or sources that support them?

Mary: Begin eating locally by checking out area farms and buying from them. Start with the Farmers' Market.

There are also roadside stands selling local food and CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) which sell shares in their farms. You pay $200 or $300 up front for the season and pick up local food every week.

Google the name of your town and the words 'farm' or 'local food' or 'CSA' and that will lead you to websites of farms. Look for "farm to table" restaurants around, big cities and small towns.

Snack Girl: What is your favorite snack?

Mary: Favorite locavore snack is local popcorn.

Please share your experiences and advice on finding and eating local food.

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Thanks for sharing this information. It's giving me a lot to think about as I've been looking for ways to improve the food I take in. I want to be more aware of where it's grown and how it's prepared.

Thanks for sharing! I always try to buy locally grown or I try to grow my own. I'm planting my vegetable garden today! Have a great weekend Snack Girl!

Thank you for bringing attention to local eating Snack Girl! I loved reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, her story of becoming a locavore, growing her own food. I think it's important to point out that the myth of local food being more expensive is rooted in the fact that we subsidize commodity crops that become processed foods with all those additives Mary mentioned, to artificially lower their cost. We do pay as much or more for grocery store food, just indirectly through our taxes!

I truly love my local farmers' market and co-op, from which we get all of our dairy, eggs, meat, whole wheat flour, and produce. I only ever go to the store for a few staple items.

Nothing tastes as fresh and delicious as what you can get locally. A plastic clamshell of greens from the grocery store goes bad in 3 days. All the greens I get from the farmers' market last at least 2 weeks, sometimes 3.

All great advice - great post! I just posted on signing up for a CSA on Wed., a great resource for finding one for yourself is Here in Boston, there are many veggie CSA options, as well as meat and fish options. We're not complete locavores here (I can't give up citrus and it does take a lot of time!), but from June-December we eat pretty much solely local produce. And it tastes MUCH better!

I tend to find that locally grown food tastes better, too -- and lasts longer

I get local watermelons from another state! I live in Texas and one of my favorite foods is yellow/orange watermelon. None of the grocery stores around here sell them anymore. I was really sad until I found a guy selling them in a little roadside stand just a few blocks from my house. He brings them straight from his garden in Oklahoma (maybe an hour away) everyday when they are in season. I have been buying from him for about 7 or 8 years now.

Desde Costa Rica: Bananos Gratis... not exactly 1$ or 2$ the hand

Tell her that unless she moves to central or northern California, she'd have trouble finding farms within 100 miles. However, we do have great farmers markets in the LA area--but the farmers come from a couple hours away (Camarillo-berries and ostrich eggs from San Diego county) to around 5 (Fresno/San Joaquin valley)

I agree with this 100%! If any of your readers live in the DC/VA/MD area I have a great fresh fruit and vegetable delivery service! From the Farmer delivers a picnic basket to your front door every Friday morning! It is the best thing I have signed up for in a long time. Read more about it here…


I'm all for eating locally and try to do so whenever I can. However, it is not cheaper to eat locally - not at $3.50 for a bunch of asparagus. And two adults with a food budget of $18 per day and that doesn't include coffee or restaurants - that's $540 per month! That's more than my budget for my family of five. Obviously someone hasn't shopped in a supermarket in awhile if she thinks she's saving money.

The scientific evidence proves that "eating local" is no better for the environment than eating food imported from far away. That's because only a very small percentage of the energy used to produce food goes into transport. Most of the energy goes into production and harvesting, where larger farms are naturally much more energy-efficient.

This was reported recently on NPR...

Enjoyed reading about the farmers markets. I was wondering what to do with the herbs that I grow . How do I learn about canning. I am growing tomatoes.

But what about chocolate?! :O

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