Lately we've put a sign out at our booth that has seemed to attract much attention: "Food Miles: Our food is grown 6 (Brimhall)/8 (Haggin Oaks) miles from here."
It is easy to be tricked by the image of the food we see for purchase, be it at the markets or super stores. Especially prices, constantly looking for the best deal. However, beyond the visual, reading labels in every detail possible is extremely important in determining just how much nutrition you are paying for. The Devil is in the details, as the saying goes.
We've been told to read our nutrition facts, ingredients and fat percentages, sugar, protein, etc. That's great if you do! But, there is something not listed which requires a bit of work on your end. Food miles. There is a clue to help you: the location of where the food was grown is typically listed. The miles it has traveled is not listed, however. You may find an expiration date, or "best by" but to figure out how old your food is and how it was grown will take a bit of effort to discover. How often do you see a "harvested on" date?
Here's a very simple formula:
Google Map the address of where it was grown, or at least type in the state, and then enter your address... or grocery store's address. That's one estimate.
Now, from people who deliver food weekly to multiple homes in the course of 4 hours, we can tell you that it works better to deliver food based on the most gas efficient route possible in order to keep your food fresher longer. We're just small time farmers, though, with a teeny operation and strictly keep things local. However, if we were drivers of a large semi-truck delivering food that first got to us from another delivery truck, and possibly one before that, from different states, by the time it officially got to our truck the food is several days old from harvest. Most deliveries to the store come in a giant bulk of various products, not necessarily from one brand or company. This means that all these brands started in one place and met up from different trucks to one location, and then made it to the store. Granted, kept fresh... but how old?
It's time that we look at our local economy and adapt our diets to what is at least grown in California. Even better if kept strictly from the local source of your town. Even if you buy something in the store that has been bought from California, there is a chance that it still traveled to major distribution centers prior, stretching out the date from harvest to plate.
We're not perfect humans, nor claim to be. However, the closest to 100% local you can get, the better it is for your health. That's really what we mean about food miles. We want for you to feel great and get truly fresh food. It costs more, no doubt! We hear you on that. And at the same time, it also holds more value. With food that means the closer it was grown and delivered to you, the better the nutrition (extra points for sustainably and naturally grown).
And remember first and foremost, food begins to lose value in nutrition the second it is harvested. Also, be called "local" one must be within 100 miles from your town.
Good luck with your purchases! We hope this post inspires you to grow your own food, the best and freshest around! It cannot be beat.
Heath and Meagan