Friday, September 26, 2014

Gratitude: Good, Healthy, Fresh, Local Food

Greenbrier nursery has one of several farmers markets locally.
Today, I am grateful for:

The availability of good, fresh, clean food in the Roanoke Valley. Many of us are deeply concerned about the chemicals that are routinely put into our food, chemicals that are often toxic, that make us fat, that negatively affect our mental and physical health.

But we have a choice. There are farmers markets downtown, in Salem, Raleigh Court, Vinton, Cave Spring, Catawba and elsewhere within a 45-minute drive of downtown. In addition, there are several farmers cooperatives, the Roanoke Valley Food Co-Op, Fresh Market, a number of roadside stands, pick-your-own farms for a variety of products (apples, strawberries, pumpkins, etc.) and other options, if you're willing to ask around and find them.

We can shop at farmers markets and some of the specialty grocery stores and do better than we might otherwise. We can grow some of our own food in this moderate climate. Most of these local markets are open almost every month (save January and February) with fresh seasonal offerings. These foods require that we spend time preparing them and for many that is a difficult time investment, but I can assure you that the resulting health is worth every minute spent in the kitchen in both healthy living and taste.

I do not mention the big grocery stores in the area because I have deep suspicions about them, even though I often shop at Kroger (which is less than a mile from my house). I bought peaches twice recently at Kroger and was told at the checkout counter that they had been recalled and that I had a choice of buying them or not. I was mortified that they were still on the shelf, still for sale. That brought up the question: What else are you selling that might not be safe for me to eat?

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