Local is the new black

Katie Shyman and Abbie Conrad

When buying produce, local is the way to go. On Sunday, Sept. 13 at the Ahwatukee Farmers Market, one vendor from Matcha Marketplace was interviewed about the benefits of buying local produce.

The vendor said, “As far as health benefits go, buying local eliminates the preservatives that we find in our produce from the store. The big grocery stores such as Safeway and Fry’s need to use preservatives because their high demand for produce requires them to supply a lot of vegetables, and the best option to do that is to use preservatives. They don’t have the liberty to farm organically, or else their business will go down.”

This proves that in order to meet their large demands, grocery store chains use a quantity over quality method. According to the same Matcha representative, “Local farmers don’t need to supply the produce for 3,000 or more people on a daily basis, and so they can forgo preservatives.”

Because local businesses do not have the same demands that the large nationwide chains have, they have the ability to exclude preservatives from their produce, making it more natural and healthy. By shopping locally, food is brought directly to the consumer, and no long distance shipping is needed, so the produce is the freshest it can be.

In response to his opinion on the GMO, or genetically modified organisms, debate, the vendor responded, “Before I began to realize the importance of buying local, I bought all my produce from the big companies. However, one day I bought a peach from an organic vendor on the side of the road. The fruit was ugly and small, but had an incredible flavor that blew all the fruit I previously ate out of the water. I realized that big companies need to make their produce look pretty through the use of GMOs in order to keep up their profits and help their marketing.”

Farmers markets allow buyers to meet the person who grew their produce, and to learn more about the process food undergoes before it reaches the table. There are many farmers markets in all areas, and finding one in your proximity is guaranteed.

The Camelback Farmers Market, located in the parking lot of Vincent on Camelback and Vincent Market Bistro will be reopening Saturday, Oct. 24th. Bring a friend, go eat delicious food and support local companies. Farmers markets can help change the weekly grocery store run to an opportunity for outdoor family fun.