You see the signs everywhere:  “local this” or “local that.”  But eating locally isn’t just a trend, it’s a sustainable way to live.  The local food movement is bringing us back to our roots, creating healthier relationships with food, and putting excitement back onto our plates. At your next event, really “wow” your guests by including locally grown fruits and veggies for your guests to enjoy.  If you’re up for a challenge, throw a “Harvest Party” using as many local farmers and artisans as you can!  Not only is it a fun way to get friends and family introduced to new foods, but we have a feeling your guests will not be able to get enough or your local and delicious dishes!
Check out our 5 Reasons you should go local at your next event:
1.    Eating locally is eating seasonally. When you eat food that is in season, you’re eating fruits and veggies thatare picked at the peak of ripeness.  This means your guests will be enjoying only the freshest produce, loaded with flavor and nutrients!
2.    Local food gives us more variety. One of the greatest things about local food is the variety!  At your next party, try to incorporate several varieties of fruits and vegetables into each dish.  Choose heirloom tomatoes, watermelon radishes, and stripe beets for a more colorful salad.  Not only does it look great, it’s pretty tasty, too!
3.    Choosing local food is choosing healthier food. Most local farms choose to grow produce and raise animals using sustainable practices.  This means no chemicals, pesticides, hormones or antibiotics.  Not to mention, the animals are allowed to roam free, eat grass and bugs, and well, be happy!
4.    Eating locally allows us to create relationships with our farmers. When planning a menu, don’t forget to use the best resource out there: farmers!  They happen to know a thing or two about food, especially for things like: how to perfectly cook a grass-fed steak or what to do with a rutabaga.  Their knowledge can be inspiring and help you get creative in the kitchen.

5.    Buying locally helps to build a stronger local food economy. In this economy, nothing feels better than knowing that your money is going to help the community around you.  When you buy locally you’re helping fund and sustain local family farms.  Your support helps to create a thriving local food community!

Planning an event this summer? Here’s a sampling of what you could offer through locally grown products – a tomato, melon and mint salad. Who knows? The tomatoes could come directly from The Feel Good Farm in Sheridan. How fresh is that?

Ingredients:

•    4 cups melon balls, scooped from ripe melon, such as cantaloupe and honeydew, all at room temperature
•    2 cups ripe cherry tomato halves, at room temperature
•    4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
•    ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped spearmint

•    ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
Directions:
Gently toss all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. That’s it. This salad is best served within an hour of assembling it. Serves 8.

Recipe by: Jerry Traunfeld, “The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor,” HarperCollins, New York, NY, 2005.

To get connected with local foodies, farmers and artisans, check out Green B.E.A.N. Delivery.  Make sure to click on the “In the Kitchen” section for helpful food tips as well as delicious and seasonal recipes.

Morgan Hamilton is a guest blogger for Snappening and the Community Outreach Coordinator at Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, a company providing organic produce and natural groceries delivered directly to homes and offices in Indianapolis. Green B.E.A.N. Delivery is networked with the best local farmers and artisans in the Midwest.