Once you eat local, you’ll never go back. If you’ve ever tried a tomato freshly picked from your garden, you know what we’re talking about. The experience is unbelievably different than if you’d bought a tomato at the grocery store. The color is more vibrant, the texture is more appealing, and the taste is out of this world. Heck – you even feel better after you eat it.
When you consider what commercially farmed food has to go through before it gets to your salad bowl, it’s not really surprising. Fruits and vegetables that once grew locally, in household gardens and on small farms, now travel hundreds of miles to get from the plant to your plate. What’s more, a lot of this food is picked while its still unripe and then gassed to “ripen” it after transport. Gross, right? We think so, too.
You already know that locally grown food looks and tastes better. But, what are the actual benefits of eating local? Here are five that just might convince you to eat locally from here on out.
- Eating local means your food is fresher
This may seem obvious, but food that’s grown close to where you eat it means its still fresh when it reaches your plate. This is because the foods are allowed to ripen longer on their vines and branches. They’re picked just days or even hours before you eat them, rather than being harvested early to allow time for long-distance shipping. Eating local means your food tastes better and has more nutritional value.
- Eating local means you’re supporting biodiversity
Small farmers are able to grow a wide range of food for any number of desirable traits, from flavor and color to vitamin content and resistance to local pests. Unlike large commercial farms, local farms don’t have to stick to one or two crops they know will produce a massive yield. This variety also benefits you as a consumer because you get to shop for niche products at your farmers’ market.
- Eating local means you’re eating seasonal
When you eat food that’s locally grown, you’re following the natural flow of the seasons. For example, the grilled portabello caprese salad on our dinner menu at IRIS uses the hallmark flavors of summer with organic heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. Not only do these foods taste better this time of year, but they also contain more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and micronutrients.
- Eating local is better for the environment
The average American meal travels about 1,500 miles to get from farm to plate. This is a serious cause for concern, as long-distance shipping of food consumes a large amount of fossil fuels and generates huge quantities of carbon dioxide emissions. When you eat local, you’re supporting small farms that work in harmony with the natural environment instead of destroying it.
- Eating local builds community
At IRIS, we’re proud to have personal relationships with the farmers and growers we get our ingredients from. When you buy food direct from a farmer, you’re engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowing exactly where your food comes from also allows you to feel a deeper connection to the earth and everything it provides us.
At IRIS Food & Spirits, we know that the best food is food that’s fresh from the source. That’s why we use local, organic ingredients as often as possible. Whatever produce happens to be in season, we’re experimenting with it to add fresh, unique dishes to our seasonal food and cocktail menus.
Whether its sourcing salad greens from the Vegetable Shop at the Chino Family Farm in Rancho Santa Fe or getting sunburst clams from the Carlsbad Aquafarm, we’re committed to supporting local farmers and providing the best dining experience in San Diego. We invite you to have lunch or dinner on our covered patio and taste our seasonal menu items for yourself. Believe us when we say there’s nothing quite like eating a fresh, local meal while gazing out at the beautiful landscape it came from.