Green Scene: Eating Locally in the Winter

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Philadelphia has a great local food movement where a locavore can easily find something grown within 150 miles of our city. We’ll get to that in a minute. But first, we should talk about what it means to eat seasonally and locally. The average fruit or veggie travels 1,500 miles before meeting your taste buds, which means it travelled by train, plane, or auto and emitted a lot of carbon to do so. Eating seasonally means choosing a locally-grown apple to nosh on rather than a kiwi that has come all the way from New Zealand.

The bad news about living in a climate such as Philadelphia’s is that there aren’t a whole lot of fruits available this time of year from within 150 miles, but there is certainly a variety of food that you can find if you adjust your diet a smidge. To find out what’s in season in Philadelphia right now, check out the National Resources Defense Council’s “Eating Local” page. According to this website, celery, lettuce, potatoes, and turnips are available in Philly this time of year. You can even follow the NRDC’s guidelines for the entire year and choose to dine on what’s in season.

So, where can I get these local foods? For year-round access to locally-grown and raised foods, check out the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market on the Arch Street side between Metropolitan Bakery and Bee Natural. Farmfresh Express also offers year-round access to local and organic groceries. Even though they are based in Landsdowne, they deliver food to doorsteps all around the Philadelphia area.

Greensgrow Farms offers a winter-CSA (City-Supported Agriculture), but it’s completely booked up. You can get on their email list, though, to get notified when they start signing folks up for the Spring and Summer CSA.

And if you are dreaming of strawberries and raspberries to help you get through these cold winter days, you can check out Local Food Philly, Farm to City, and The Food Trust, to find a farmstand near you. Most farmers markets open up in May, which isn’t as far away as it seems.

Image credit: Flickr user matt.ohara.

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