In the market off-season, The Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market works to promote the importance of shopping directly from Clallam County’s local food producers. Before the market opens on May 16, you can support your local producers, makers and crafters by seeking out locally made products at local grocery stores.
Local grocery stores facilitate important relationships with small companies and farms.
“The benefits of eating within a 100-mile radius go far beyond just nutrition,” says Ming Chang, grocery department manager for Sunny Farms in Sequim.
“They’re socio-economic, environmental and sustainability forward.”
The further distance your food travels, the more difficult it becomes to know exactly how long it’s been in transport. Shorter transport times have environmental benefits, such as promoting better air quality by helping to reduce pollution.
Reducing miles traveled also minimizes the number of people in direct contact with your food, an especially important consideration in today’s health climate.
Alongside farmers markets and farm stands, local grocery stores are a great place to find locally grown, seasonal produce.
“We’re looking forward to getting as much as we can get that grows in our climate locally,” says Cherish Dahinden, produce department manager at Country Aire Natural Foods in Port Angeles.
“This will be our biggest year yet for bringing in local produce. As our local produce sales increase, more farms have been contacting us about selling their product,” Dahinden says.
Not all produce is available year-round, meaning eating local is a fantastic way of staying in touch with the seasons. Frequently, produce at its peak harvest is very affordable. By focusing on eating what’s in season and grown nearby, your produce stays exciting and cost-effective.
“Some of our current seasonal highlights are spinach and salad mix from Chi’s Farm, assorted micro-greens from Itsy Bitsy Greens, and sunchokes from Nash’s Organic Produce,” Daninden says. “We’re also looking forward to some really great garlic coming up from Joy Farm.”
In uncertain times, local grocery stores are encouraging shoppers to prioritize buying local products to maintain community food security.
“Because of the health crisis, the national food supply is seeing strain with large distributors,” Chang says. “When I work with local companies and producers, it’s as easy as a quick phone call to get their product on our shelves that same day.”
To ensure that our access to local products continues to grow, we must make it a habit to seek out these products during our weekly shopping trips.
“When we have to place orders from a product made off of the peninsula, our money leaves our community,” says Dan Peterson, grocery purchasing manager at Country Aire.
“Buying local products keeps our money in the local economy. It’s hugely important.” Reaching for local products at local grocery stores directly contributes to our economic strength and resiliency.
Clallam County has a wide assortment of local products, next time you’re at your local grocery store, keep an eye out for: Rainshadow Coffee Roasting Company; Gold Feather Coffee Roasters; Hurricane Hills’ natural fruit wines; Jose’s Famous Salsa; Getting Cultured’s fermented vegetables; Dungeness Valley Creamery’s raw Jersey cow milk; Redcoat Goats’ raw goat milk; Sequim Bee Farm’s honey; Graymarsh Farm’s fruit preserves; Olympic Onion Farm’s green onion powders, among the many other high-quality products with a “local” sign nearby!
Emma Jane Garcia is Marketing Manager for the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market. See www.sequim market.com.