Buying local any time of the year is important, but this time of year is when it really makes a difference. Whether you’re going out, eating in or entertaining a crowd, there are always resources available to help you make the most sustainable choice, especially during the holiday season.
– Vegetables: Buying locally grown vegetables has numerous benefits. According to localharvest.org, most produce sold in grocery stores is picked four to seven days in advance and travels around 1,500 miles, on average. Therefore, it’s clear that produce from local farmers is not only sustainably sensible, but fresher and healthier as well. Buy organic and you will make your meal even more beneficial by eliminating all pesticides and chemicals. Visit www.localharvest.org and search by zip code for local farmers in your area.
– Turkey: For most families throughout America, the turkey is considered the main event on Thanksgiving, so why not do it right and make it sustainable? Opt for a free range, all-natural turkey from your local farmer’s market. What this means is that the birds were raised outdoors as opposed to being packed into a coop their whole lives, and were given no chemicals or hormones to increase their weight. Search for your local free range, all-natural turkey at www.eatwild.com.
– Pies: Imagine fresh, local ingredients being combined into a tasty holiday pie. Before you head home for Thanksgiving this season, take a five-minute drive to Terhune Orchards and pick up a fresh, baked-on-premise pie. Check out their website www.terhuneorchards.com to choose from a variety of homemade recipes and I can almost guarantee you’ll be the most popular guest. Better yet, check out the immense number of pie recipes at www.allpierecipes.com and make your own tasty treat.
– Composting: The sustainable food choices aren’t over when everyone’s stuffed. Scrape any food scraps into a compost bin and throw some dirt in the mix; the scraps will break down into a nutrient-rich soil, ready for your spring garden. Some other things you can throw in your bin to break down include: paper napkins, leaves and pine needles, fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, shredded newspaper, and any food scraps you may have — with the exception of meat and dairy — to name a few. Be sure to visit www.plantea.com for a list of 163 things you can compost.
Buying local is a simple way to go green and impact not only the earth but also your holiday guests. Some other ways you can make a difference this season are by adopting a vegetarian diet, using reusable plates and silverware as opposed to disposable options and checking out thrift stores for any table and household decorations you may need. Additionally, try sending out online invitations for your event from www.evite.com. Channel all the positive energy this holiday season and take small steps to living sustainably.