Why Buy Local?
Local products sometimes cost more than their conventional counterparts. There are a number of reasons why this may be the case. First, large agricultural corporations receive subsidies (basically grant money that does not need to be paid back). Second, larger food companies often work with machinery that allows them to produce a larger quantity. By producing more with less input, they can keep their costs down. Finally, lower quality ingredients cost less and also keep mass-produced goods at lower prices.
Still, why should you pay more for local foods? Here are a couple reasons to consider it. Many products are unlike anything you would see from a national company. For example, Starlit Kitchen’s Chili-Dill Diamond Crackers marry the tang of dill with the bite of chili backed by the smoothness of locally grown wheat. Plus, these products are generally handmade in small batches. This attention detail often leads to a higher quality product compared to goods that are produced in factories.
Local foods also spend less time in transit. Food we receive from outside the area has traveled here in the cargo hold of a ship or large truck, and then warehouse hopped its way across the country to us. By the time it reaches a store, it could be several days or even weeks old. When you buy local food, you can often purchase produce the same day it was picked and baked goods the same day they were made.
Finally, local foods often offer more variety. Go to any conventional supermarket and you’re liable to find the same assortment of fruits and vegetables from store to store. These varieties have been chosen not for their taste, but for their shelf life and ability to withstand manhandling during transportation. Local growers and producers can supply more delicate produce, and therefore local foods tend to be unusual varieties. In fact, many local farmers specialize in heirloom varietals.