The Benefits of Buying Fresh, Local Fruit
There are plenty of things to look forward to in New England as the days get longer and warmer, including the opportunity to buy fresh, local fruit! Here’s a list of the benefits of buying local fruit for your family:
The best flavors
Local farmers ensure that their fruit is picked at peak ripeness, when they are at their tastiest, and are typically sold within 24 hours or less. The flavors are noticeably better than fruit that was harvested early and shipped thousands of miles to be distributed at a retail store days later.
Better for you
In addition to being the tastiest right after it is fresh picked, fruit is also better for you the fresher it is. Over time, the nutrient value of fruit decreases. According to downtoearth.org, “fruits and vegetables lose their optimal nutritional value as soon as they are picked. When picked, vitamins such as C, E, A, and some B vitamins begin to deteriorate and thus decrease. Other factors such as the exposure to air, artificial lights, and temperature changes (during transport) can also contribute to the decrease in nutritional value. Thus, the longer the food sits the more it decreases in nutritional value.” In addition, the longer it takes for fruit to arrive at a retail location, the greater the risk of contamination and food safety issues.
Supports the local economy and community
Buying fresh, local fruit helps to support the local economy since the money “stays close to home” and supports local jobs. Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally-owned business, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community. (Source) For instance, Parlee Farms works with Mann Orchards in Methuen, MA (pies), Shaw Farm in Dracut (milk), Brookdale Farm in Hollis, NH (vegetables) and Carlson Orchards in Harvard, MA (cider).
Better for the environment
Buying local fruit reduces the carbon footprint that is a result of shipping it far distances. In addition, buying local fruit helps support farmland and green space. At Parlee Farms, almost 70% of our pick your own farm is preserved under Massachusetts’ Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program, which means the land will always be used for farming and cannot be developed.
The opportunity to pick it yourself
Eating fruit is a lot more fun when you’ve picked it yourself at a local farm! A pick your own fruit trip is a great way to get kids more excited about eating fruit and is a fun outing for the whole family. In addition, it promotes a sense of community. It provides the opportunity to actually meet and speak with the growers and learn more about their fruit growing process.
As you can see, there are many benefits to buying fresh, local fruit. At Parlee Farms, we kick off our season each year in June with strawberries, which can be fresh picked in our Farmstand and are also available for pick your own. Details on picking hours and what is available in the Parlee Farms Farmstand can always be found at www.parleefarms.com. Thank you for supporting your local farmer!
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This post was written by Parlee Farms