It’s harvest season for most local produce. Maybe you’ve been reaping the benefits of your own gardening efforts and enjoying tasty fruits and vegetables from your own back yard. But, if you don’t have a garden yourself, you can easily find local produce from farms not too far from Waynedale.
One of the oldest and largest locally owned produce farm stands in Allen County is Hardy’s Farm Market on Knoll Rd. The Hardy family, who make up five-generations of farming history in their family, know all too well the benefits of eating local produce.
In grocery stores, shoppers have become accustomed to seeing a ripe fruit or vegetable and assuming that it provides the same nutrients and flavor that locally sourced produce offers. However, that’s not always true. Especially when taking in account out-of-season produce, that has to travel from distances as far as South America, the produce ripens on the truck instead of on the tree, bush or vine. The ‘on-the-vine’ ripening process provides more nutrients and will typically taste better, which serves as the primary advantage of shopping for local produce.
In its 92nd year in operation, the Southside Farmers Market on Warsaw St. almost always has its vendor spaces filled, and for good reason, people enjoy shopping and talking about how the food they buy is produced and where it comes from.
Recently it has become trendy for customers to seek local food options, but it’s more than just a fad, customers want to know that the food they buy doesn’t just look nice, they want it to be good for them too. Restaurants and grocery stores are also starting to make special considerations to list the origin of their produce and to go as far as to promote the local items they may be selling or using as ingredients.
However, locally sourced produce does come with a little extra cost and you may have to go out of your normal routine to shop for it. But, supporting small, local farms has been proven to contribute to more eco-friendly farming practices as well as keeping more money in our local economy.