Buy fresh, buy local. That was the sticker on a pint of purple muscadine grapes I bought at the farmer’s market on Saturday. I asked the seller if he grew the grapes himself. “No, but I got them this morning from a local orchardist.” I knew immediately where those grapes came from: fruit-grower Eddy Romero in Coteau. That’s one of the perks of buying local, you can trace your food right back to the terroir, the land where it was grown and to the farmer who grew it. That gives you a pretty good chance of being assured that your dinner won’t give you salmonella poisoning, that the local meat you buy comes from animals raised in humane conditions, and that the food you are buying hasn’t travelled very far, so just by eating local tomatoes instead of those trucked in from Florida, you’ve reduced your carbon foot print by 500 miles.
National Farmers Market Week started Sunday, Aug. 2 and runs through Aug. 8. Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain has issued a challenge to all residents of the bayou state: “I’m asking everyone, including the governor and officials across the state, to only eat food that is grown within Louisiana for one week.” Strain dubbed the week the Eat Local Louisiana Challenge. “Think of the possibilities: peaches from Ruston, watermelons from Franklinton, blueberries from the Felicianas, crawfish from the Atchafalaya and pork and beef from your local meat markets and rice and gravy. Seasonings would be no problem because Louisiana hot sauces are among the best in the world and the state is a leader in salt production,” he says.
There are a lot of fabulous choices on where to buy local in Acadiana. Check back throughout the day, I’ll be putting together a list, added to this post, of where to get locally grown fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, wine, and anything else I can find. And for all you locavores, please help me out and send in info on your fresh and local finds.