Someone needs to come up with a better word than “locavores.” But until then, we can use it to describe the movement to buy and eat food that is grown locally. This label is different than “organic” but the idea is that if food is grown nearby and on a smaller scale, it will be better tasting, healthier, and better for the environment than if it were produced and shipped from far away.
In Howard County there are lots of ways to eat “local” food. The most direct is to grow your own. This year my family started a “square foot garden.” It is the cutest thing – an 8 x 2 foot raised bed surrounded by fence made out of rebar, electrical conduit and plastic netting. OK, that doesn’t sound cute, but really it is! I have a love/hate relationship with the deer that come thruough my yard, and so far this system is holding up well. The plan comes from the book “All New Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew. We followed the plan for a vertical garden except instead of using Mel’s mix for soil, we just used bags of LeafGro.
But I digress. Local eating has gotten a lot easier with Howard County Farmers Markets. These generally run Wednesday – Sunday at various locations. Farmers markets are a great way to support local farms and get fresh produce and locally made foods like cheeses and breads. Roadside farm stands are also starting up. If you want to visit a farm, several Howard County farms have pick-your-own days. It can’t get any fresher than that.
More restaurants are highlighting locally sourced food on their menus. Here’s a list of restaurants compiled by the Howard County Economic Development Authority. An event celebrating local food and farms is coming up on July 19th. The “Film Feasitval” is sponsored by Clark’s Elioak Farm, the University of Maryland Extension, Howard County, Howard County Tourism, and the Howard County Economic Development Authority. The event will have locally grown food from surrounding farms and restaurants. There will also be a showing of “Local Foods, Local Farms”, a film about the benefits of eating locally grown food. The event is free, but they are requesting a $5 donation that will go toward Farmers’ Market Coupons for families in need. Here’s the Feastival link if you would like to register.
Lastly, here’s a link back to Green Central Station (livegreenhoward.com) that has information on Community Supported Agriculture and Organic Grocers. More grocery stores are highlighting local produce when they have it and you can always ask a manager to find out if any of the produce is local.
Enjoy the season!