The art of feeding ourselves, isn’t it a funny thing? From granola bars on the go, to treating ourselves to a gourmet meal, the way in which we nourish ourselves varies wildly by the day. For many of us, it can feel like a challenge to get a meal on the table that resembles something healthy. But lucky for us, there is a bounty of fresh, local food that abounds in our region—and so many opportunities to eat well.
Nourishing ourselves and the ones we love from our place in the world can reach farther than our plates. And that’s where the magic happens—because local food comes with a story.
It’s a story that helps us truly know the people, place, process, and practices behind our food. How it was grown and how it may have helped preserve farmland. How it was made and how it may have helped reduce waste and energy. How it was caught and how it may have helped keep our seas stocked with fish for seasons to come.
Local food is food from people who are invested here in our community, creating jobs, and keeping dollars here to support the place we call home.
WHAT DOES LOCAL MEAN?
It varies for every region, but for us in northwest Washington, Sustainable Connections’ “Eat Local First” campaign defines local as food grown, raised, harvested and made in Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, and Island counties.
WHAT’S IN SEASON?
The Local 10: With our temperate maritime climate, there are a number of local products that we can find year-round.
1. Veggies Mushrooms, carrots, kale, sprouts, beets, potatoes, garlic, and squash can be found most of the year and are fresher and more nutritious.
2. Frozen berries Find fresh and frozen raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. Did you know Whatcom County is the largest producer of red raspberries in the nation?
3. Seafood The beautiful Salish Sea is rich with salmon and shellfish, and many local fishermen travel up to Alaska, returning with wild-caught bounty.
4. Dairy With more than 100 dairy farmers producing everything from milk and cheese to yogurt and butter, NW Washington has it all.
5. Eggs Farm-fresh eggs are a treasure to behold. Eggs from pastured hens also contain up to 20 times more Omega-3s than those from factory hens. Egg-cellent!
6. Honey Touting flavors like wild flower and raspberry, experts say local honey may help with allergies too.
7. Grains Locally milled flours from Skagit County turn into products like breads, pastas and pastries—or make your own!
8. Meat and poultry Sustainable and humanely raised pork, beef, chicken, turkey and lamb are all here. Stock up your freezer and load up the grill.
9. Hazelnuts This heart-healthy nut grows right in our backyard; perfect for snacking, baking, salads and more. 10 Beer, wine, spirits and more We love our beverages, and lucky for us we have dozens of breweries and wineries to choose from, local kombucha, cider, spirits and more.
WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOOD?
Farmers markets Shop local farmers markets for your groceries and find new favorites
Local grocers Consider shopping at locally owned grocers and look for local items
Local restaurants Eat at locally-owned restaurants and ask for what’s local
Local farm box Sign up for a box of local produce, or CSA, fresh from the farm
U-pick and farm stands Head out to the farm for a fun-filled day
This season is a great time to seek out new ways to eat with the seasons and eat from our place. Here’s to enjoying good food, creating good health, and a healthy community—each and every time we sit down to eat.