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Whether you’re looking for a juicy tomato, or curious about where to purchase cruelty-free dairy products, talking to a local food producer at a farmers’ market is a great way to support the regional economy and reduce food waste.
According to the Central Ohio River Valley: Local Food Guide, there are nearly 40 local farmers markets open this summer in the Greater Cincinnati area. How does buying from a local farmers’ market reduce food waste?
First, local food doesn’t travel as far as products purchased in a traditional grocery store. Because the items are fresher, they’ll last longer, when stored correctly. Bonus, fresh food is often more nutritious than aging produce.
Second, food producers can bring, sell, and market “ugly produce.” Grocery stores work hard to meet the desires of consumers so they will only accept food that meets strict size, color, and shape specifications. “Ugly produce” is still wholesome and nutritious. Don’t be afraid to buy a carrot with two legs or a misshapen apple.
Third, the key to reducing food waste is knowledge. Farmers’ markets are designed to remove the barriers between the consumer and the producer. You can ask questions, learn about the food you’re buying, and give feedback directly to the producer about what you’d like to see next season.
No matter what farmer’s market or how often you shop, always come with a shopping list. Shopping lists will help you focus on buying what you need. If you’re worried about the cost of shopping at a farmers’ market, check out Produce Perks, the dollar-for-dollar program that makes shopping locally more accessible.
One Pan Pasta:
2 oz pasta
1 farm fresh beefsteak tomato
1 tbsp olive oil
½ red onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Heat oil in a cast iron or non-stick skillet.
Dice onion and garlic, add to the pan.
Sauté until the onion is translucent.
Add 2 cups water and 2 oz pasta, let simmer for 10-15 minutes. (Add more water ½ cup at a time if necessary).
Add to simmering pasta and cook until a thick sauce starts to form.
Remove from heat, top with salt and pepper, and eat!