Monday, August 23, 2010

Does Eating Local Really Make a Difference?

I am not going to spout data at you.

I am not going to lecture about the benefits to the farmers or the environment.

You only have to look at the news to see the strongest argument for eating local: The Egg Recall.

I have lost track of the number of eggs recalled when it started to mass hundreds of millions of eggs.  There was no reason for me to watch for the next batch of eggs being recalled, even though I eat eggs.  I eat a lot of eggs.  I even use them raw on almost weekly basis - making a batch of fresh mayo each week (not that I go thru it all, but I only keep it a week).  And even when I cook my eggs, they are nearly always soft boiled or poached.  I love a runny yolk!

Meatloaf topped with sauteed rainbow chard & a poached egg.

But I know where my eggs come from.  I have met & spoken with the farmers at the farmer markets.  I am not saying that you can ever be 100% any of your food is 100% safe.  I do things to avoid cross contamination in my kitchen even if the chance there is anything dangerous is low:
  • washing hands after handling eggs, or any other kind of animal proteins before touching any other foods or surfaces.
  • using separate & dedicated cutting boards for animal proteins and fruits & veggies.
  • wash fruits and veggies before cutting just in case something is on the surface (who knows how many people at the market touched it before you?)
I still take chances - I have been known to eat fruit and vegetables right out of my CSA box without washing them.  But I know where that food is coming from and I know when it was picked (only 24 hours before I got my grubby lil hands on it!).

Buying local, eating local, and getting to know who is producing your food is good for you!  Even if you don't concern yourself with the environmental, social, economic impact of supporting your local farmers, it will lower the chances you will every have to be concerned with a spinach, tomato, egg, etc recall.  So for your own healthy piece of mind and wallet (how many other people had to dump the eggs they just bought 'just in case' while I was topping my meatloaf with a poached egg?), eat local... plus it makes you a mench.

A MENCH is used to describe a good person: He is a real mench!  It literally translates to 'a person', but is commonly used to call someone a good guy.

Ess Eppis!


  1. Also, $.70 on every $1 you spend locally stays in your community, compared to less than $.20 on every $1 spent at a big-box chain store.

  2. Great post! With the egg recall, I have wondered where I could get local eggs and I think that the next time I'm at Maple Acres Farms in Plymouth Meeting, I might have to check out and see if eggs are also sold there.

  3. @Lys-
    You can get eggs produced by local farmers (they are organic & cage free also) at Reading Terminal Market at the Fair Food Stand (they only carry locally produced stuff!). Most farmer's markets throughout Philly have an egg man or two set up there.

    And to anyone buying eggs from local farmers - bring back your egg cartons and help them save money while recycling :-)