Though there’s a lot to be said for the ease and efficiency of the modern age, sometimes you just want to get in touch with your roots. America was built on the backs of farmers, whether they were plowing the land for grain or cotton, harvesting vegetables and fruits, or raising cattle, we owe our survival to the land we walk on. But when so many of today’s food products are shipped in from overseas, it’s easy to forget the people behind your produce. Reconnect with your sense of community and celebrate America’s farmers by hosting a local food party.
Tis the Season
The first thing you’ll want to do is find the nearest farmer’s market to get the most authentic, locally grown food you can find. Keep in mind that locally grown fruits and vegetables may not look exactly like the ones you can find in the supermarket. They may be smaller or more irregular in shape, but don’t let that put you off. Farmer’s market produce can often be smaller but more flavorful, since they don’t have to be genetically engineered or raised to hold up to lots of time and travel. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new, like goat cheese or bok choy. When in doubt on how to use an unusual ingredient, just ask the farmer for some dishes that they usually make. If you can’t find a farmer’s market, try to keep in the spirit by restricting your menu to things that are in season now, using websites like Eattheseasons to help you keep track. Buying food that are in season can increase the chances that they’re American grown.
Setting the Stage
Keep the local and rustic theme as much as possible, with a centerpiece of wildflowers in a vintage bottle or a bowl of in season produce. A vintage map tablecloth can add to the sense of state pride, and websites like Etsy can help you find handmade, American versions for added authenticity. Make flags for each dish that highlight locally grown or in season ingredients, and try to ensure that every dish has at least one local or in season ingredient. For example, baking a cake and using pasturized raised eggs, or a honey glazed ham made with a local roast and raw beekeeper’s honey. Don’t limit yourself only to the food, either, and try to compliment the meal with drinks from a local winery or orchard.
Keep the Momentum
If you find yourself enjoying the flavors of locally grown produce, as well as the added benefit of supporting your community, consider going beyond food in your search to be local. While farmer’s markets and other online crafting stores can be good sources, more and more online stores offer American made home products, such as stanley home products, so that even a clean up can fit your locally made theme.
Sometimes, it takes a little branching out in order to get back to our roots, and while shopping locally can be intimidating, hopefully this guide has helped make it easy and fun to feel down to earth again.