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Buy and Eat Local This Holiday Season

Why shopping and eating locally this holiday season is better for your body, your community and the planet.

"'Tis the season to be merry," and for many of us that means dropping our regular good eating habits, and not only eating and drinking more than usual, but consuming food we usually wouldn't give a second glance. Peppermint bark, anyone? But perhaps we can pledge to do it a little differently this year.

Eat local for health

It's been hard to miss stories in the media about how bad sugar is for our health, as well as the need to reduce our intake of refined carbohydrates and focus instead on whole, preferably organic, foods and pastured meats and eggs. Sure, there are endless debates about why we should buy organic foods when studies have shown it’s hard to measure the nutritional impact, but the benefits of organic farming go way beyond simple nutrition. Here’s a handy top 10 reasons to buy organic.

Buy local for the planet

Here in Petaluma we are surrounded by amazing producers of good, clean food, so if you’re going to over-indulge this season, then perhaps do so by being kinder to your body by eating “real” food, and at the same time support your local farming community.

Stores at local farms like Green String and Tara Firma are open daily, and offer just-picked, still wet-from-the-field, produce that is more affordable, and definitely better for you and the planet, than that jet-lagged squash on sale at Lucky’s. You can pick up some beautiful organic eggs and pastured meat at the same time, or shop for gifts like preserves and olive oil.

Dine local for fun

If you’re celebrating the holiday season away from your own kitchen, restaurants like Central Market and Rosso, focus on creating ‘farm-to -table’ dishes that make the most of locally grown and raised produce. In fact, Central Market’s Chef, Tony Najiola, has his own farm, Muleheart, where many of the ingredients he uses in his inventive cuisine come from.

Give local

And if you’re stumped for gift ideas, why not give a gift that really does keep on giving. Tara Firma offers a farm box containing seasonal vegetables and fruit, as well as meat and other produce. It you can choose to either it pick-up, or have it delivered to your front door for a small fee. For me, delving into the box to see what’s inside is a bit like opening a Christmas gift every week of the year.

So, if you find it hard to say no to a little extra on your plate this holiday season, at least say yes to locally produced, organic food. Your farmer, your family and your belly will thank you for it.

Please feel free to share other local food producers and resources in the comments section.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Magali Dureuil Forsyth December 04, 2012 at 12:51 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with your article. However, one aspect you might want to focus on would be to find suggestions for people who cannot afford to shop at Tara Firma or have dinner at Central market. It would be beneficial to everyone to uncover places that are accessible to a larger number of people.
Alice Chan December 04, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Thank you for your comment. I find that Green String's produce is incredibly affordable, as well as many of the other farm stands and farmers' markets I happen across on my travels around the County (although, there are more of them open in the summer for sure). If anyone has tips on restaurants please share!

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