This is the season, now through October, to get out and find your local farmer's markets. They are in abundance if you know where to look. I am posting a link to a great site called Local Harvest where you can put in your zip code and get the results of a search for farmers markets, farms, restaurants serving local products and even farmer's co-ops. http://www.localharvest.org/ When you go to the supermarket and pick up a quart of strawberries, do you know how fresh they really are? Unless your store SAYS....LOCALLY Grown, the average food travels 1200 to 2500 miles from pasture/farm to plate. So that lettuce you bought yesterday, was most likely picked several days earlier, sat on a truck that took it from the farm, sat in the crate at the store you are buying it from until the inventory on the produce on the shelf is low, and then put out for you to pick and put in your greenbag to take home. Only then to sit in your refrigerator for a day or two or three. Even when I was cheffing at a catering hall, I always went to the local farm stand to get my produce and some specialty items. Everything was so fresh, sometimes the produce manager had to go get a crate off the truck that was just delivering it from the local farm. To me there is nothing better than fresh produce or homemade products. In addition to eating healthy fresh food, you are also giving back to the community. Shopping local keeps the mom and pop shops up and running. The quality alone is worth the money, but usually the customer service cannot be surpassed. We bought all our fresh herbs and flowers to plant at a local nursery instead of going to Lowe's or Walmart. I dont think the difference in prices was all that noticeable AND honestly, the quality of the plants were fabulous! I have already started harvesting some of my herbs and lettuce. Next year, I may even have my own garden for even more local produce! I will be visiting many local Farmer's Markets in Suffolk County this summer and looking forward to continuing to eat lighter, healthier and most definitely fresher foods. So on a saturday or sunday morning, put the kids ( or the parental units ) in the car, and take a ride to your local farmer's market. I will blog about the markets I find and post recipes and pics using the fresh and local ingredients we purchase! Happy Hunting!